Yelmer Buurman secured pole position for the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup round at Paul Ricard on Saturday morning in his No. 4 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3.
The Dutchman set a lap time of 1:56.442 right at the end of the third and final session, beating Davide Rigon’s SMP Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 by 0.031 seconds.
Buurman will share Black Falcon car with Adam Christodoulou and Luca Stolz for the six-hour race later today.
“It was a perfect lap I think,” Buurman told Sportscar365. “I struggled a bit on my first lap as the tires weren’t quite there yet.
“The car is really good here, we just had to fine-tune it for qualifying.”
Buurman held the top position for most of the session, but had to put in another quick lap as the SMP Racing and Alessandro Pier Guidi’s No. 50 AF Corse Ferraris went faster.
Pier Guidi, who qualified third, came very close to winning the Paul Ricard round last year with his teammates Pasin Lathouras and Michele Rugolo, but had to settle for second following the unfortunate timing of a safety car intervention.
Albert Costa delivered a remarkable performance in the No. 14 Emil Frey Racing Jaguar by qualifying in fourth, just 0.217s off pole, while the sister No. 114 entry will start the race eleventh on the grid.
Franck Perera completed the top five in the No. 84 HTP Motorsport Mercedes, while Steven Kane and Vincent Abril put in the sixth and eight fastest times in the M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3s, separated by the No. 55 Kaspersky Motorsport Ferrari of Marco Ciocci.
The No. 88 AKKA ASP Mercedes that took pole at Silverstone qualified ninth, after Renger van der Zande lost the front left wheel in Q2.
The championship leading No. 63 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 only managed P20 in the hands of Mirko Bortolotti.
The top 20 was covered by one-second.
The six-hour race gets underway at 6 p.m. local time and will run partially in the dark.