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GT World Challenge Europe

FFF Lamborghini Crew Takes Barcelona Pole by 0.009s

Bortolotti, Mapelli, Caldarelli resist late Gounon charge to take fourth pole of season…

Photo: Patrick Hecq/SRO

Mirko Bortolotti, Marco Mapelli and Andrea Caldarelli claimed their fourth pole of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup season after narrowly beating the No. 88 AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG crew by 0.009 seconds.

The drivers of the No. 63 Orange1 FFF Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo posted an average time of 1:44.814 across the three 15-minute sessions at Barcelona to continue their remarkable 2021 qualifying form at the final round of the season.

The Lamborghini factory trio had already scored poles at Monza, Paul Ricard and the Nürburgring prior to this weekend’s event.

Pole at Barcelona added a single point to their Endurance Cup haul, reducing their deficit to leaders Alessandro Pier Guidi, Nicklas Nielsen and Come Ledogar to 16 points.

FFF topped qualifying in the face of a late surge from Jules Gounon who almost snatched the top spot in the AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

Bortolotti had a spin on one of his laps but recovered to post a flying lap that went almost half a second clear of Gounon’s co-driver Raffaele Marciello and third-placed Marvin Dienst of Silver Cup team Toksport WRT.

Mapelli then finished top of the times in Q2, a couple of tenths ahead of Felipe Fraga in the No. 88 Mercedes, before Gounon responded with the fastest lap of the morning in the final run.

The Frenchman’s 1:44.528 effort brought AKKA-ASP to within a hundredth of a second of the FFF Lamborghini, but wasn’t enough to usurp the leading car.

GPX Racing’s Matt Campbell, Earl Bamber and Mathieu Jaminet qualified third in the No. 22 Porsche 911 GT3 R with a 1:45.232 combined time.

They will share the second row of the grid with the Toksport WRT Mercedes driven by Dienst, Berkay Besler and Oscar Tunjo who claimed the Silver Cup pole in addition to an impressive overall starting spot.

Dinamic Motorsport’s Porsche driven by Klaus Bachler, Christian Engelhart and Matteo Cairoli completed the top five.

Pier Guidi, Nielsen and Ledogar qualified 11th in their championship-leading No. 51 Iron Lynx Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020, one place behind their main rivals Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts, who are sharing the No. 32 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo with Robin Frijns this weekend.

WRT represented the fastest Audi in the 46-car field, while Ferrari’s top entry was the No. 71 Iron Lynx car driven by Alessio Rovera, Callum Ilott and Antonio Fuoco who qualified sixth, in front of the No. 4 Haupt Racing Team Mercedes-AMG.

Emil Frey Racing’s No. 114 Lamborghini which included the returning Jack Aitken took eighth on the grid, while AKKA-ASP’s Silver Cup Mercedes ended up ninth.

Pole in the Pro-Am category went to Sky-Tempesta Racing’s Rino Mastronardi, Jonathan Hui and Chris Froggatt, who leads the class championship standings.

Their average time of 1:46.245 edged out the SPS Automotive Performance Mercedes-AMG of Dominik Baumann, Valentin Pierburg and Martin Konrad by less than a tenth.

The factory-run BMW M4 GT3 clocked the 17th-fastest average to qualify inside the top 20 for its GTWC Europe debut ahead of its global customer rollout next year.

RESULTS: Qualifying (combined)

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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