Honda Racing’s Bertrand Baguette, Renger van der Zande and Mario Farnbacher set the pace in qualifying for the Kyalami 9 Hour to become one of the six crews to advance into the single-driver pole position shootout.
Farnbacher led session three after Baguette finished third in Q1 and van der Zande placed second in Q2 to set their Honda NSX GT3 Evo on top of the pile.
The three drivers combined for an average time of 1:42.521 which put them 0.169 seconds ahead of Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW drivers Augusto Farfus, Nicky Catsburg and Sheldon van der Linde who emerged in second.
Farnbacher’s 1:41.979 flyer near the end of session three was the best individual lap time of all and the only effort to break the 1m 42s barrier.
Five different brands made it into the pole shootout with entries from Bentley, Porsche and Audi also reaching the top six, while both Walkenhorst BMW M6 GT3s advanced the next stage of qualifying.
Bentley’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hours winners Maxime Soulet, Jordan Pepper and Jules Gounon – who set the Q2 pace – ended up third for M-Sport on a time of 1:42.810.
In fourth was the No. 12 GPX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R of Matt Campbell, Patrick Pilet and Mathieu Jaminet, while Audi Sport Team Car Collection was fifth courtesy of Mattia Drudi, Patric Niederhauser and Christopher Haase producing a 1:42.878 average score.
Walkenhorst Motorsport’s No. 35 BMW M6 GT3, which led the first qualifying session in the hands of Martin Tomczyk, completed the group of pole position candidates.
The first two cars to miss out on positions in the shootout were the sister Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evos run by Team WRT that will start Saturday’s race from seventh and eighth.
M-Sport’s No. 8 Bentley placed ninth, ahead of the Dinamic Motorsport Porsche that includes Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli points leaders Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber in its lineup, alongside Kevin Estre.
Dinamic’s Porsche appeared to struggle in qualifying and was the last of the Pro-class qualifiers, with Team Perfect Circle’s Lechner-run Pro-Am Porsche out-pacing the Silver Cup Audi from Car Collection to determine the final row of the 12-car grid.
The top-six shootout can be followed live here.
RESULTS: Qualifying (combined)