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Nürburgring Endurance

Engel Takes Second Straight N24 Pole in HRT Mercedes

Maro Engel earns his second consecutive N24 pole while Ferrari makes the front row…

Photo: Mercedes-AMG

Maro Engel put Haupt Racing Team on pole for the Nürburgring 24 with the fastest lap during Friday evening’s deciding Top Qualifying session.

Engel first needed to progress from Top Qualifying 1 after his team’s No. 4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo was not included on the list of entrants that were automatically entered into the Top Qualifying 2 shootout based on data from previous NLS races.

Engel, who is teamed with Adam Christodoulou, Manuel Metzger and Luca Stolz, set the best lap in Top Qualifying 1 making him one of the four drivers to reach the main session.

In Top Qualifying 2 the Mercedes-AMG factory ace was quick to reach the top of the leaderboard with his first of two flyers before improving again to secure the pole.

His final time of 8:57.884 was the only Top Qualifying effort to duck under the nine-minute mark.

Engel, who also took pole last year for HRT’s predecessor Black Falcon, will share the front row of tomorrow’s grid with Luca Ludwig who put the Octane 126 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo second at the end of the session.

Ludwig came through on a 9:02.814 to prevent Mercedes-AMG teams from finishing first, second and third.

The German driver’s improvement in the Swiss-entered Ferrari, which has impressed in the NLS this year, bumped Raffaele Marciello off the front row.

Marciello ended up on a time of 9:03.118 aboard the No. 9 GetSpeed Performance Mercedes-AMG, while Daniel Juncadella was fourth in the AMG run by 10Q Racing Team.

The best of the BMW M6 GT3s qualified fifth in the hands of Nick Yelloly, whose 9:08.665 flyer in the No. 99 ROWE Racing machine narrowly beat 2015 pole-sitter Augusto Farfus in the Team Schnitzer M6.

Mercedes-AMGs and BMWs then filled out the next four positions with Matthieu Vaxiviere (GetSpeed), Marco Wittmann (ROWE), Christian Krognes (Walkenhorst) and Maxime Soulet (GetSpeed) all finishing ahead of the highest-finishing Audi entry.

Mirko Bortolotti placed 11th overall in the No. 3 Audi Sport Team Car Collection Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo, while fellow Audi drivers Frank Stippler and Frederic Vervisch were 12th and 13th.

Porsche endured an even tougher session as the manufacturer’s lead Top Qualifying hopeful Dennis Olsen stopped in the fifth sector of his opening lap with a problem.

This left Porsche’s pole chances down to the Pro-Am No. 30 Frikadelli Racing 911 GT3 R of Alex Mueller who ultimately finished 14th ahead of Audi works driver Christopher Mies.

Olsen was on form heading into Top Qualifying 2 after running second to Engel during the first Top Qualifying session.

Juncadella and Stippler were the other drivers to make it through the preliminary shootout.

The highest Top Qualifying 1 participant not to make it into the second run was Mathieu Jaminet in Frikadelli Racing’s Pro-class No. 31 Porsche.

Konrad Motorsport’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo that was fast in dry conditions on Thursday also failed to make the cut with Marco Mapelli placing 23rd overall.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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