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GT World Challenge Europe

FFF Lamborghini Crew Takes Third Pole of Season

FFF Racing Team earns its third Endurance Cup pole of the season at Nürburgring…

Photo: Patrick Hecq/SRO

Orange 1 FFF Racing Team Lamborghini drivers Mirko Bortolotti, Marco Mapelli and Andrea Caldarelli earned their third pole of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup season in qualifying for the Nürburgring 3 Hours.

The Italian trio delivered an average time of 1:54.633 across Sunday morning’s three 15-minute qualifying sessions to secure a front-spot start for this afternoon’s race.

The No. 63 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo featured consistently at the sharp end with Bortolotti finishing third in Q1, followed by joint-first place for Mapelli in Q2 and third for team principal Caldarelli in Q3.

Their combined score was good enough for the top spot, ensuring that FFF remains unbeaten in average-based qualifying so far this year after it also led at Monza and Paul Ricard.

TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa shootout pole-sitter Raffaele Marciello and his AKKA-ASP teammates Jules Gounon and Felipe Fraga qualified second on the grid.

Their No. 88 AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo ended on an average time of 1:54.678, less than a tenth of a second shy of the FFF Lamborghini.

Marciello went fastest in Q1 before Mapelli and Caldarelli overturned the initial deficit during the remaining sessions against Fraga and Gounon who placed third and fifth.

A final-session 1:54.284 flyer from Mathieu Jaminet, who was the best outright driver in qualifying, elevated the No. 22 GPX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R to third on the grid above the No. 4 Haupt Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

Jaminet, Matt Campbell and Earl Bamber registered a 1:54.861 average to beat Maro Engel, Luca Stolz and Nico Bastian by 0.019 seconds.

Engel finished second in Q1 before Stolz tied for first in Q2 with Mapelli, but Bastian – standing in for absent DTM driver Vincent Abril – only managed 18th in the last run.

Emil Frey Racing Lamborghinis qualified on the third row as Konsta Lappalainen, Luca Ghiotto and Arthur Rougier took fifth ahead of Norbert Siedler, Giacomo Altoe and Albert Costa.

The latter crew in the No. 163 Lamborghini came through just seven-thousandths of a second ahead of defending Nürburgring winner Dinamic Motorsport with its Porsche shared by Matteo Cairoli, Klaus Bachler and Christian Engelhart.

The Pro-class Iron Lynx Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020s finished eighth and ninth, while the Silver Cup pole-sitting car rounded out the overall top ten.

Clemens Schmid, Kikko Galbiatii and Tim Zimmermann teamed up for a 1:55.322 average to give Grasser Racing Team its first pole of the year with the No. 16 Lamborghini.

Four different entries have now taken the Silver pole in the four rounds held this year.

Grasser narrowly beat the No. 159 Garage 59 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Alex MacDowall, Nicolai Kjaergaard and Valentin Hasse-Clot who will start on the row behind.

The best overall entries from Audi and BMW ended up behind the two Silver Cup leaders, with Team WRT’s No. 32 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo running 12th ahead of Walkenhorst Motorsport’s British-driven No. 34 BMW M6 GT3 in 13th.

Pro-Am pole honors went to Sky-Tempesta Racing’s No. 93 Ferrari driven by Rino Mastronardi, Jonathan Hui and Chris Froggatt.

Their average time of 1:55.909 gave a cushion of three cars on the grid between themselves and the next Pro-Am entry from RAM Racing.

Oman Racing with TF Sport qualified third on its Endurance Cup return, from Orange 1 FFF Racing Team’s No. 19 crew and the Mercedes-AMG of GetSpeed Performance.

A total of 42 cars completed qualifying after Winward Racing’s Mercedes-AMG only took part in the first timed session, while JOTA’s McLaren 720S GT3 withdrew from the 3H Nürburgring on Sunday morning.

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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