With a blistering lap at the wheel of his #66 Attempto Racing Lamborghini Marco Mapelli took the first pole position of the 2017 season of the Blancpain GT Series. The Italian was only marginally quicker than reigning champion Maxi Buhk in the #84 HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG, with Blancpain GT Series-rookie Raffaele Marciello putting the #90 Akka ASP Mercedes-AMG in third. The fastest eight cars were separated by less than two tenths of a second, with all 17 cars in Q3 ending up within the same second.
Qualifying at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli was always going to be a close fought affair. In the second free practice session there were 22 cars within the same second, a feat that was repeated in Q2. Only 17 cars would go through to Q3 though, and among the cars not making it was the #1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT R8 of reigning Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup champion Enzo Ide, ending up in 18th.
During the ten minutes of Q3 the name on top of the timing sheets changed frequently, with Rob Bell, Maxi Buhk and Marco Mapelli fighting hard. Eventually the Italian drove the Lamborghini he shares with Giovanni Venturini to pole position in front of his home crowd, the first for Attempto Racing.
Behind Mapelli, reigning Blancpain GT Series Maxi Buhk put the #84 HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG on the front row for tonight’s Qualifying Race, with a lap time that was only 0.075 slower than Mapelli’s. Buhk just beat Raffaele Marciello, the Italian youngster that is making his GT racing debut here in Misano.
The top-5 was completed by the #86 HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG of Dominik Baumann – the other 2016 Blancpain GT Series champion – and the #59 Strakka Racing McLaren of Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup champion Rob Bell. More bliss for Strakka Racing thanks to the performances of 27-year-old Lewis Williamson, claiming seventh overall and the pole position in the Silver Cup. Jules Gounon (#87 Akka ASP Mercedes-AMG) proved to be quickest in the Pro-Am Cup.
Tonight’s Qualifying Race at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli will start at 20.40 local time, and will be streamed live on the Blancpain GT Series website www.blancpain-gt-series.com .
Marco Mapelli (#66 Attempto Racing Lamborghini): “It is fantastic to get pole position for my home race, for Lamborghini’s home race as well. I am sure we have a good race pace as well, so I am very much looking forward to tonight’s qualifying race.”