- Pace and consistency from #40 GPX crew earns top spot as Porsche takes centre stage
- Lamborghini, Audi, Mercedes-AMG, Ferrari and Bentley also represented in overall top 10
- Barwell Lamborghini captures Silver Cup pole, AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG leads Pro-Am
GPX Racing will lead a Porsche one-two at the start of tomorrow's six-hour GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS contest at the Nürburgring after narrowly beating Dinamic Motorsport in a highly competitive qualifying session.
A blistering Q3 lap by Thomas Preining was enough to put the #40 GPX car top by 0.105s on average times. Strong performances from Romain Dumas (fifth in Q1) and Dennis Olsen (third in Q2) had already established the crew as a contender before the young Austrian delivered a 1m54.001s, the fastest lap of the entire qualifying process
Dinamic had looked an equally strong bet for pole. Matteo Cairoli posted the second-fastest time Q1 before Christian Engelhart emerged quickest in Q2, but Sven Müller was unable to find a clear lap in the final segment and the #54 crew slipped to second.
The #163 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini will start from third after a fine showing from Franck Perera, Giacomo Altoe and Albert Costa in the Swiss squad's Huracan. Rising star Altoe was their star performer, finishing second quickest to Engelhart in Q2.
The #66 Attempto Racing Audi followed its Imola pole with an excellent fourth place, making it the Ingolstadt brand's leading representative on tomorrow's grid. A pair of Ferrari runners will share the third row, the #51 AF Corse entry narrowly edging the #72 SMP Racing car, giving both a clear shot at success on Sunday.
Silver Cup pole changed hands during the final segment of qualifying. Q3 saw Patrick Kujala finish an impressive 12th overall in the #78 Lamborghini, which was enough to vault the Barwell Motorsport car to the top of the class order. Kujala, Frederik Schandorff and Alex MacDowall will start 18th overall, ahead of the #15 Tech1 Lexus (20th) and the #159 Garage 59 Aston Martin (23rd).
The #87 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG earned Pro-Am pole thanks to Thomas Drouet, Jim Pla and Fabien Barthez, who will start from 32nd overall tomorrow. They will line up immediately ahead of their nearest class rivals, with the #19 Orange1 FFF Racing Lamborghini and the similar #77 Barwell machine 33rd and 34th respectively. The #26 Sainteloc Racing Audi, which is running in the Am Cup with Michael Blanchemain, Clement Seyler and Pierre-Yves Paque, finished 48th overall.
The only red flag of this evening's session came during the closing minutes of Q3 when the #99 ROWE Racing Porsche of Dirk Werner hit the barriers at turn 10. The driver emerged unscathed but was transferred to the medical centre as a precaution. There were no other major interruptions, despite a typically frantic battle for track position among the 48-car field.
Tomorrow's six-hour contest will be the second of the 2020 Endurance Cup season and gets underway at 11.45 CET. Every minute of the action will be broadcast live on television and a variety of online platforms, including the GT World Challenge Europe website and Facebook page and the GT World YouTube channel.
Thomas Preining, #40 GPX Racing Porsche: "Even though we are the ones in front of the camera, a big thank you goes out to the crew. The mechanics and engineers put us in a really good position and made sure we didn't have traffic. The car was fantastic: you don't do a 1.54 without having the best car, so thank you to them."