Dries Vanthoor takes Audi to pole position for the second round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge

27 July 2018
Bathurst 12 Hour-winner Dries Vanthoor conquered pole position for the second round of the 2018 Intercontinental GT Challenge, the Total 24 Hours of Spa. At the wheel of his  #1 Audi Sport Team WRT R8 the young Belgian was emphatically quicker than the other drivers that came into action during the SuperPole session for the Belgian endurance classic.
 
Out of the twenty cars that had qualified for the SuperPole session, eleven are competing in the Intercontinental GT Challenge. With conditions being noticeably hotter than during Thursday evening’s qualifying sessions, it turned out to be hard to set competitive lap times.
 
Côme Ledogar (#58 Garage 59 McLaren) was the first of the drivers to break the 2'20-barrier, but the French driver would not stay on top for long. First former Spa-winner Maxime Martin took his Aston Martin to top spot, but when Dries Vanthoor started his two flying laps at the wheel of his Audi Sport Team WRT machine, it was soon clear that he would conquer pole.

Sector after sector the younger of the Vanthoor-brothers improved upon the times of his competitors, to become the first to get into the 2'18. Vanthoor, already quickest of all during the Thursday qualifying sessions, even improved during his second run, to eventually clock a 2'18,578, more that six tenths of a second clear of second placed Maxime Martin.

In third another of the Audi Sport machines competing in the Intercontinental GT Challenge, the #2 Audi Sport Team WRT car driven by Nico Müller. Ledogar's sixth overall still made him third of the Intercontinental GT Challenge drivers, just in front of reigning drivers' champion Markus Winkelhock at the wheel of the #25 Audi Sport Team Saintéloc car.

Fred Makowiecki (#911 Manthey-Racing) was the fastest of the Porsche-drivers, with Maxime Soulet putting the first of the Bentleys, the #7 M-Sport machine just outside the top-10, on the sixth row of the grid. Maro Engel was at the wheel of the quickest of the Mercedes-AMG cars, driving the #4 Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon car to 14th overall.

Although three cars of the brand with the three-pointed star had qualified for SuperPole, only two took to the track, for moments before the session began Raffaele Marciello had severely damaged the #88 Mercedes-AMG Team Akka ASP car during the Warm Up, making it impossible for the squad to participate in SuperPole.

With all preparations over and done with, the stage is now fully set for the 70th edition Total 24 Hours of Spa, second round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. The biggest GT race on the planet will begin on Saturday at 16.30 local time, with the #1 Audi Sport Team WRT machine leading the field into a twice-around-the-clock battle at the iconic Spa circuit.

Dries Vanthoor, #1 Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS: “This wasn’t an easy one. When I got in the car, I decided to give everything that I possibly could. This pole position came thanks to WRT, Audi, the engineers, and all the people working in the background. Our car was absolutely amazing. Endurance races can help us score important points, especially for the Intercontinental GT Challenge, but it is going to be a long race and a lot can still happen.”

Nico Müller, #2 Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS: “The temperature affected our car today, but fortunately we had time find a better set-up. As usual, Team WRT did an amazing job and gave us a very quick car. Dries pulled it out of the bag and congrats to him for that, because it was something quite exceptional. Now I just can’t wait to go racing and challenge Maxime and Dries tomorrow.”

Superpole results (IGTC cars highlighted)