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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Caldarelli: “Really Rewarding” for Lambo’s First 24H Spa Pole

K-PAX Racing becomes first American team to score pole in TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa history…

Photo: K-PAX Racing

Andrea Caldarelli said scoring Lamborghini’s first overall pole position for the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa was “really rewarding” as the Italian made history for the joint Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup round.

Caldarelli, who recorded the sixth quickest time in Thursday’s Q3 session, jumped to the top of the time sheets in his No. 6 K-PAX Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo in the Friday evening Super Pole, setting a best time of 2:16.221.

He edged out two-time and defending pole-winner Raffaele Marciello by 0.154 seconds, setting a new qualifying record in the process.

“It was very different from my Q3 which was almost in the dark. I found a very different track,” Caldarelli explained.

“I took it easy the first lap. I understood the grip level and so on. Then I attacked my second lap. I knew there was something out there,

“It was very different from yesterday but having a lap without any cars is just an amazing feeling.

“I knew I did a small mistake in the last corner. I tried to stay clean all lap and tried to attack in the last corner. I knew there was a couple of tenths there.

“I’m really happy in the end that I made it.”

While it marked the first 24H Spa pole for an American team, it was also Lamborghini’s maiden pole in the endurance classic after narrowly missing out on top qualifying honors in recent years, also with Caldarelli behind the wheel.

“The reason why I was so happy was because this is the first pole position for Lamborghini,” he said. “We were always — every year — very close.

“It’s still a 24-hour race. We know it’s a long race. But it’s always good to start in P1.

“I think this pole position really goes to all the guys back in America and in Sant’Agata because we know it’s a team effort from both sides.

“I started with K-PAX last year racing in GT World Challenge America. The deal was that I was going there trying to help the team with my experience in Europe.

“It feels quite passionate because I know how much effort I put in it. It’s really rewarding to have a pole position here.”

Caldarelli, who will team with fellow Lamborghini factory driver Marco Mapelli and South African star Jordan Pepper, predicts this weekend’s race to be tougher than ever, largely due to changes in the track as well as a new safety car procedure.

“It’s very different,” he said. “We saw that it’s quicker; it’s definitely quicker. We know that Eau Rouge is a bit easier. It’s less challenging.

“But you must have a very different approach. You cannot make too many mistakes because there is gravel. Especially for the race it’s going to be really interesting.

“I think we’re going to see more playing during the pit stops and maybe more safety cars. Definitely it’s going to be a bit different from last year.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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