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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Black Falcon Mercedes Quickest in 24H Spa Qualifying

No. 4 Mercedes leads the top 20 Super Pole qualifiers as Bentley & BMW crews miss out…

Photo: SRO

Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon’s No. 4 car of Maro Engel, Yelmer Buurman and Luca Stolz set the pace in qualifying for this weekend’s Total 24 Hours of Spa.

Each driver in the lineup set times in the top five of each of the available sessions to achieve the best average score of the 72-car field and book a place in tomorrow’s pole shootout.

Entries from Mercedes-AMG, Audi, Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin and Nissan made it through in the top 20, while the BMW and Bentley Pro-class teams missed the cut.

The No. 2 WRT-entered Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo finished second in the qualifying table, 0.081 seconds shy of the pace, while the No. 999 GruppeM Mercedes lapped third-quickest.

HubAuto Corsa’s Ferrari 488 GT3 and the No. 998 ROWE Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R of Frederic Makowiecki, Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy completed the top five.

In sixth was the best of the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evos entered by Orange 1 FFF Racing team which ended qualifying on a 2:19.963 average.

Attempto Racing’s Silver-class No. 55 Audi was the only car from outside the top category to make it through to the shootout after Steijn Schothorst, Pieter Schothorst and Mattia Drudi placed seventh overall.

On the bubble, the No. 107 M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 of Jordan Pepper, Steven Kane and Jules Gounon narrowly missed out on the shootout after being out-qualified by the GPX Racing Porsche by 0.006 seconds.

The highest-placed BMW M6 GT3 was the No. 42 Team Schnitzer entry which will start tomorrow’s race from 31st overall, ten positions behind the top Bentley crew.

Class poles were confirmed in the Pro-Am and Am classes, with Ram Racing scoring the top grid spot in the former with its No. 74 Mercedes-AMG GT3 registering an average of 2:21.358.

Fastest in the Am bracket was Barwell Motorsport’s No. 77 Lamborghini in which Adrian Amstutz, Patrick Kujala, Richard Abra and Leo Machtiski combined for a 2:22.144.

Two red flag periods prolonged the time in which the four quickfire qualifying sessions were held, with two separate accidents causing stoppages in Q1 and Q2.

Erik Maris’ BMW sustained damage in a crash to bring the opening session to a brief halt, while a longer intervention was held after the No. 17 Silver-class WRT Audi spun out at Les Combes in the following batch.

The pole shootout to decide the top 20 positions on the grid is set to be held on Friday evening at 7:05 p.m. local time (1:05 p.m. eastern).

RESULTS: Qualifying

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

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