Macau’s most successful driver, Edoardo Mortara, has led an Audi lockout of the front row for Saturday’s qualifying race for the FIA GT World Cup with the fastest GT time ever set at the circuit.
Mortara narrowly missed disaster when he bounced off the wall on his flying lap to record a time of 2:16.862 ahead of his team-mate Laurens Vanthoor, 2:17.016.
“I knew I was on a good lap so I just kept my foot flat,” Mortara said.
Former Le Mans 24 hour winner Earl Bamber was third on 2:17.133 and will start on the second row in his Porsche 911 GT3 R alongside defending FIA World GT Cup champion Maro Engel, who lapped his Mercedes-AMG GT3 in 2:17.147.
In a qualifying session interrupted by two red flag periods, seven drivers undercut the circuit’s GT lap record of 2:18.93.
Ferrari driver Pasin Lathouras and Irish privateer Richard Lyons both crashed in separate incidents, Lyons for the second time in the days’s running, causing red flags as their cars were removed.
Engel, who stunned the field in early practice with a fastest ever lap on the circuit, struggled with rear alignment.
At the final restart he slammed to a momentary fastest position with a 2:17.147 but on the same lap, he was swamped by the two Audis and Bamber’s Porsche.
Mortara had fitted a new set of tires for the final sprint determined to create a front row lockout for Audi for Saturday’s 12-lap qualification race.
Results from the qualification race will determine starting positions in Sunday’s 18-lap FIA GT World Cup.