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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Pier Guidi Captures Indianapolis 8H Pole for Ferrari

Pier Guidi fires AF Corse Ferrari to Indianapolis pole in close-fought shootout…

Photo: Fabian Lagunas/SRO

AF Corse Ferrari driver Alessandro Pier Guidi led a tight qualifying shootout session to claim pole position for the second edition of the Indianapolis 8 Hour presented by AWS.

The Italian delivered a time of 1:33.456 aboard the No. 51 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020, which held out as the fastest lap despite improvements from Audi’s Patric Niederhauser and Mercedes-AMG’s Jules Gounon who both came up less than 0.06 seconds short.

Pier Guidi and his co-drivers Nicklas Nielsen and Come Ledogar head into the Indianapolis 8 Hour as the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli championship leaders after winning the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa season-opener in August.

Audi drivers Niederhauser and Dries Vanthoor took turns at the head of the shootout order in the 15-minute session’s early stages, before Pier Guidi reeled off a time that was three-tenths better than anything else set with just over six minutes left on the clock.

Niederhauser, who held the top spot before the Ferrari charged through, managed to bring the gap down with a 1:33.514 effort later on but was unable to topple Pier Guidi.

The Swiss driver will share the No. 25 Sainteloc Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo with Markus Winkelhock and Christopher Haase.

Niederhauser ended up 0.058 seconds off the top spot in the final classification while Gounon slotted into third – one-thousandth of a second shy of the Sainteloc Audi – with his bid in the No. 99 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo run by Craft-Bamboo Racing.

Gounon squeezed ahead of Antonio Fuoco, who settled for fourth in the No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari.

Pier Guidi continued pushing after setting his initial best time, but was unable to lodge an improvement after spinning in front of Fuoco coming out of Turn 12.

Vanthoor ended up fifth for 24 Hours of Spa runner-up Audi Sport Team WRT, which also took the other third-row grid spot courtesy of Mattia Drudi.

Marvin Dienst claimed the Silver Cup class pole with the seventh-quickest outright lap time behind the wheel of Winward Racing’s Mercedes.

The German driver initially took provisional pole before subsequent improvements from the leading drivers in the top category bumped him down the overall order.

Dienst nonetheless managed to out-pace Mercedes-AMG factory driver Raffaele Marciello, who was eighth for AKKA-ASP.

Jan Heylen qualified ninth in the Silver-designated Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, while Mikael Grenier completed the top ten for SunEnergy1 Racing which was the only team from the Pro-Am class to make it through to the top-15 shootout.

The shootout participants were determined by the results of a three-part qualifying procedure in which the average times of each crew were taken.

K-PAX Racing struggled in the final stage of qualifying as its Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evos only managed 11th and 14th with Mirko Bortolotti and Marco Mapelli driving.

The Italian factory drivers finished nine-tenths and 1.4 seconds off the outright pace respectively.

Aurelien Panis and Dakota Dickerson lapped in between the two Lamborghinis for Silver Cup entrants Sainteloc Racing and Racers Edge Motorsports, which was Acura’s only representative in the shootout.

The only car not to set a lap time was the Crucial Motorsports McLaren 720S GT3 driven by Paul Holton.

The Indianapolis 8 Hour gets underway Sunday at 10 a.m. ET with live coverage on SRO’s GT World YouTube page and segments on CBSSN from 12-2 and 4-6:30 p.m. ET.

RESULTS: Pole Shootout

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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