Maxime Martin came out on top of a closely matched group in tonight’s opening qualifying session for the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
The Belgian DTM driver, competing in the No. 45 BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS BMW Z4 GT3, lapped the 4.3-mile circuit in 2:18.397.
His fastest time was only 0.009s quicker than Laurens Vanthoor’s best time in the No. 1 Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS.
Beaten for the first time today, AF Corse initially claimed third place, just 0.039s behind Martin. However, Gianmaria Bruni’s fastest time was deleted after the session, as was the time of Andy Soucek who had been just 75 milliseconds slower than Martin.
Bruni and Soucek were two of many drivers that had their fastest lap times deleted for exceeding the track limits, the timing screens continuously showing messages from race control to the teams.
When all the penalties had been applied the No. 11 Kessel Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 was third fastest, at 0.131s, with the No. 5 Audi Sport Team Phoenix Audi R8 LMS fourth fastest at 0.177s.
The session was briefly stopped with 12 minutes left on the clock, after Christophe Bouchut in the No. 70 GT Russian Team Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 had stopped at Blanchimont.
Once the car had been removed the session was restarted, but with just five minutes remaining Christopher Mies in the No. 5 Audi R8 LMS went off at Les Combes, with race control red-flagging the session straight away.
The session was not restarted.
Qualifying 2 gets underway at 9:45 p.m. local time.