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GT World Challenge Europe

Iron Lynx Barcelona Pole Reduces Fuoco’s Points Deficit

Fuoco now 10 points behind Endurance Cup leaders after Iron Lynx takes final pole of season…

Photo: Ferrari

Iron Lynx claimed pole for the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup title decider at Barcelona, reducing Antonio Fuoco’s points deficit.

The Italian driver gained an extra point by setting the best three-driver average in Saturday morning qualifying alongside Alessandro Pier Guidi and Alessio Rovera.

Fuoco is now 10 points behind championship leaders Raffaele Marciello, Daniel Juncadella and Jules Gounon, whose No. 88 Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo will start this afternoon’s three-hour race from eighth on the 48-car grid.

Pier Guidi set Iron Lynx’s bid for the additional point in motion by leading the first 15-minute qualifying run with a time of 1:44.721 in the No. 71 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020.

Sainteloc Junior Team’s No. 25 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II then moved to the top of the average times after Q2.

Sainteloc driver Patric Niederhauser finished second behind Silver Cup competitor Dean MacDonald in the middle run, with Rovera placing fifth aboard the No. 71 Ferrari.

That put the Hockenheim-winning Audi 0.116 seconds above Iron Lynx in the aggregate table, courtesy of Niederhauser being four-tenths of a second quicker than Rovera and overturning the 0.184-second difference between Pier Guidi and Mies in Q1.

However, Fuoco went seventh-tenths clear of Lucas Legeret in the final session to swing the result in Iron Lynx’s favor.

It marked the second pole of the Endurance Cup season for the No. 71 Ferrari, which won from that position at Paul Ricard with Fuoco joined by Davide Rigon and Daniel Serra.

Fuoco can draw level by finishing fifth and relying on the No. 88 Mercedes-AMG failing to reach the top 10.

Mies, Niederhauser and Legeret ended up dropping to sixth after Q3, enabling Dinamic Motorsport to take second on the grid with its No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R shared by Klaus Bachler, Alessio Picariello and Matteo Cairoli, who led the final session.

Mirko Bortolotti, Jack Aitken and Albert Costa qualified third in the No. 63 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3, which will share the second row with Garage 59’s Silver Cup McLaren 720S GT3 driven by MacDonald, Manuel Maldonado and Nicolai Kjaergaard.

The Pro-class No. 111 JP Motorsport McLaren of Christian Klien, Vincent Abril and Dennis Lind ranked fifth, but incurred damage in the third session after Lind ran into the left-rear of the No. 51 Iron Lynx Ferrari as cars bunched into the final chicane.

While JP Motorsport had already set three representative lap times, Giancarlo Fisichella was unable to complete a flyer in the Ferrari, which subsequently qualified 47th.

Team WRT will start its final race with Audi Sport from seventh, alongside the Endurance Cup points-leading Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG on the fourth row.

Inception Racing’s Brendan Iribe completed his first laps fo the weekend after flying overnight from Motul Petit Le Mans, where he clinched the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup title.

Iribe, whose aircraft landed at Barcelona El Prat airport at 6:54 a.m., just over two hours before qualifying, is now aiming to clinch the Gold Cup title alongside Ollie Millroy and Frederik Schandorff.

They qualified seventh in class, while title rivals Michelle Gatting, Rahel Frey and Sarah Bovy took pole for Iron Dames.

The Pro-Am pole went to Garage 59, which but several cars between its No. 188 McLaren and the next entry in class from Porsche squad Allied-Racing.

The final round of the GTWC Europe season starts at 3 p.m. CEST (9 a.m. ET).

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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