Matteo Malucelli has set the pole time for this weekend’s Barcelona 24 Hours.
The Italian ace, driving the No. 4 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, turned a quick lap of 1:50.031 in the freshly rebuilt car following its accident in June’s Zandvoort 12 Hours.
“There was never clear lap,” said Malucelli, who believed he could have gone quicker. “With 70 cars I am always overtaking and on the fast lap I had to overtake two cars.
“Even on our fastest practice lap I overtook several cars. It would be realistic to be able to do a 1:49.”
Malucelli, who will share the pole-winning Ferrari with Jiri Pisarik, Jaromir Jirik and Peter Kox, set the quick time early in the session, leaving others playing a game of chase.
Kenneth Heyer had the No. 1 Hofor Racing Mercedes up to second best in the early going but then was outdone by Giacomo Piccini in the No. 32 Kessel Racing Ferrari.
Heyer regained the tempo near the end of the 45-minute session. The top three qualifiers were separated by less than a half-second, boding well for a close race.
Fred Barth ended fourth behind Piccini. Barth, in the No. 6 Leipert Lamborghini, also set his time early and was unable to improve his position later in the session.
One of the most seasoned veterans in the field, Alain Ferte, slotted the No. 5 Simpson Motorsport Audi R8 LMS into fifth place.
The top-10 was completed by Ralf Oeverhaus (No. 24 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMZ Z4 GT3), Christian Bracke (No. 2 Car Collection Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG), Lukas Schereirer (No. 8 ZaWoTec Porsche), Sebastien Dussoillet (No. 12 GC 10 V8—and first in SP2), Elmar Grimm (No. 3 Car Collection Mercedes).
The Barcelona 24 Hours gets underway Saturday at 12 p.m. local (6 a.m. ET).