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GT World Challenge Europe

De Pauw Takes Second Pole of Season in Silver Cup Ferrari

De Pauw takes Valencia Race 1 pole for AF Corse; big gap between overall title contenders…

Photo: Jules Benichou/21 Creation

Silver Cup driver Ulysse de Pauw claimed his second pole position of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup season for the first of this weekend’s two 60-minute races at Valencia.

The Belgian posted a time of 1:30.467 with three minutes left in the 20-minute qualifying session to plant his No. 53 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 on the front of the grid.

De Pauw also took pole for the opening race of the campaign at Brands Hatch, which he and Pierre-Alexandre Jean went on to win outright.

The AF Corse duo sealed the Sprint Cup Silver class title before heading to the final round at Circuit Ricardo Tormo.

De Pauw led Saturday morning’s qualifying run by 0.152 seconds from Charles Weerts in the No. 32 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II.

Despite missing out on pole, the session had a good outcome for Weerts because his and Dries Vanthoor’s main title rival Timur Boguslavskiy only qualified 16th after having his best lap time deleted in the No. 89 Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

Boguslavskiy and Raffaele Marciello have an 11.5-point deficit to Weerts and Vanthoor with two races remaining.

Weerts had a couple of lap times deleted due to track limits in the early stages of the session but brought his Audi to the front row with an improvement after a tire change.

Six Audis qualified in the top eight for Race 1, with Simon Gachet taking third in the No. 11 Tresor by Car Collection machine ahead of Attempto Racing’s Pieter Schothorst.

Jim Pla slotted Akkodis ASP’s No. 88 Mercedes-AMG into fifth, breaking the Audi chain.

The Frenchman dropped several positions in the live timing charts during the session but was shown as the fifth-fastest driver in the results.

Silver Cup competitors Gilles Magnus and Thomas Neubauer, who set the early pace and was the leader until De Pauw’s effort, took sixth and seventh overall for Sainteloc Junior Team and WRT while Aurelien Panis placed eighth in Sainteloc’s Pro Audi.

Hugo Delacour took pole in the Pro-Am class driving the No. 21 AF Corse Ferrari.

The Frenchman registered a time of 1:31.795 to beat his Bronze driver contemporaries, with points leader Miguel Ramos settling for second, just seven-thousandths behind.

The penultimate race of the GTWC Europe Sprint Cup season starts at 2 p.m. CEST (8 a.m. ET).

RESULTS: Qualifying (final)

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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