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GT World Challenge Europe

Green, Auer Take Sprint Cup Poles at Brands Hatch

Ben Green ends Emil Frey Racing’s lengthy Sprint Cup pole drought while Lucas Auer beats Jules Gounon for Race 2 pole…

Photo: JEP/SRO

Ben Green and Lucas Auer secured pole position for Sunday’s pair of races in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup season opener at Brands Hatch.

As part of a revised qualifying format that saw each of the two sessions reduced to a length of ten minutes, Green surprised many of the established front runners by steering his No. 14 Emil Frey Racing Ferrari 296 GT3 to the fastest time in Qualifying 1.

The British driver reeled off a 1:22.768 to beat the No. 7 Comtoyou Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Evo of Mattia Drudi by just 0.016 seconds.

It marks Ferrari’s first Sprint Cup pole since the 2022 Valencia round, when Ulysse de Pauw grabbed pole as part of AF Corse’s Silver Cup effort.

Emil Frey, meanwhile, ended a pole drought dating back to Race 1 at Zandvoort in 2021, when it still ran Lamborghini machinery.

Dries Vanthoor, having pitted to take tires for a second run aboard the No. 32 Team WRT BMW M4 GT3, jumped up into third with a late improvement ahead of the No. 159 Garage 59 McLaren 720S GT3 Evo of Tom Gamble.

Maro Engel briefly ran as high as second for Winward Racing before dropping back to fifth, but remained ahead of Giacomo Altoe and Christopher Haase.

Lucas Legeret, driving the No. 111 CSA Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II, narrowly beat Racing Team Turkey’s Charlie Eastwood to Gold Cup pole in eighth overall.

The No. 99 Tresor Attempto Racing Audi of Alex Aka completed the overall top ten, while Calan Williams secure pole in Silver Cup  for Team WRT in eleventh overall.

However, it was Auer that set the fastest time across all of qualifying on Saturday afternoon when he went fastest in the second session aboard the No. 48 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

A late flyer allowed the Austrian to beat fellow Mercedes-AMG factory driver Jules Gounon and lead a front row lockout for the Stuttgart manufacturer.

Gounon held the advantage aboard the No. 9 Boutsen VDS machine when Matisse Lismont triggered a red flag with three and a half minutes remaining by spinning the No. 21 Comtoyou Racing Aston Martin into the gravel at Stirling’s.

After the session was resumed, Gounon extended his advantage atop the timesheets by posting a 1:22.536 and appeared on course for pole, only for Auer to then set a 1:22.393 to beat him by 0.143 seconds.

The No. 9 Mercedes-AMG was even briefly bumped back down to second thanks to an improvement from the No. 14 Emil Frey Ferrari of Konsta Lappalainen.

However, the Finnish driver had his time disallowed for track limits, dropping to seventh. His teammate Thierry Vermeulen took third in the sister No. 69 Ferrari, ahead of Garage 59 driver Benjamin Goethe.

Ricardo Feller failed to convert an early pole bid into a front row start and ended the session in fifth, ahead of Silver Cup pole sitter Eliseo Donno in the No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari.

Behind Lappalainen, Gilles Magnus picked up Gold Cup pole by putting the No. 25 Sainteloc Racing Audi eighth overall.

Pre-Qualifying Balance of Performance Change Implemented

Officials carried out a Balance of Performance change ahead of qualifying at Brands Hatch, with weight changes affecting six different manufacturers.

Ferrari was the sole brand to gain weight, being given ten extra kilograms. Meanwhile, Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Lamborghini and Porsche all had their minimum weight reduced by the same amount.

Mercedes-AMG and McLaren were not given any reductions or increases to each of their respective cars.

Both of the Sprint Cup races will be run on Sunday, with the opening contest set to go green at 11 a.m. BST (6 a.m. EDT).

RESULTS: Qualifying 1/Qualifying 2

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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