Luca Stolz takes pole in shortened qualifying session

18 September 2016 Luca Stolz takes pole in shortened qualifying session

Luca Stolz (#19 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini) is the somewhat surprise polesitter for this afternoon’s season finale of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup at the Nürburgring. The qualifying session was reduced to just Q3 after persistent fog made racing on the Eifel track impossible during the early morning hours. Fastest time in the Pro-Am Cup went to Johnny Adam in the #44 Oman Racing Team Aston Martin, while Rino Mastronardi in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari is on pole in the Am Cup.

Morning qualifying at the Nürburgring is bound to be influenced by weather conditions, and unfortunately the mythic track in the Eifel was covered in fog on Sunday morning. The lack of visibility caused the cancellation of the first two parts of the qualifying session, with the drivers of Q3 getting the task to qualify their cars as high as possible in what still were tricky conditions.

That was shown early in Q3 when the #8 Bentley Team M-Sport Continental of Andy Soucek slid off the track in turn 1, causing a red flag and effectively reducing the session to just over eleven minutes. Once the lights went to green the Nürburgring became a beehive of activity, with 54 cars on the 5,148 km long track.

Pole position seemed to change hands every five seconds, but the intense battle came to a sudden halt when Olivier Beretta put the #53 AF Corse Ferrari in the gravel trap in turn 1. Another red flag was shown, but with only one minute remaining, that was the end of qualifying. Just before, Luca Stolz had managed to claim the fastest time at the wheel of the #19 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini, confirming the fact that the Huracan is well at ease on this track.

Christopher Mies made good use of his experience of the Eifel track to claim second in the #28 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT R8, just in front of Alessandro Pier Guidi in the #50 AF Corse Ferrari. Behind them was the first of the Endurance Cup title contenders, the #84 AMG-Team HTP Motorsport Mercedes of Maxi Buhk. The other protagonists for the Endurance Cup will be a bit further down the grid: the #8 Bentley Team M-Sport Continental is in 12th, the #58 Garage 59 McLaren in 21st and the #99 ROWE Racing BMW in 39th.

It’s the same situation in the Pro-Am Cup, where the #44 Oman Racing Team Aston Martin is no longer in contention for the season crown, but could still take third. Standings leaders Broniszewski, Rizzoli and Bonacini will start in a lowly 13th in class, but their sole remaining rivals Giauque, Hassid and Perera are even further down in 18th.

With Rino Mastronardi confirming his good form of yesterday it was no surprise that the blue #51 AF Corse Ferrari took pole. The Am Cup leaders Talbot, Zanuttini and Gitlin of the #888 Kessel Racing will start 9th in class, with Pierre Ehret in the #333 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari in 7th and the French trio Beaubelique, Vannelet and Ricci in fifth.

 

Luca Stolz (#19 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini): “The team did a very good job in sending me out at the right moment, just when there was a gap in the traffic. Yesterday, Mirko had shown that the car has a lot of potential here, and I am happy that I was able to confirm that.”

Johnny Adam (#44 Oman Racing Team Aston Martin): “Last year this race gave us the best qualifying and race results of the season, so the Nürburgring seems to suit us. We made a few changes to adapt to the conditions. It was quite a nice session.”

Rino Mastronardi (#53 AF Corse Ferrari): “It was big fun to have qualifying like this, with the long delay and all. I really enjoyed it, the track was very tricky. The car was perfect, we made the right tyre choice.”


Full result list


The final endurance race of the season starts at 14.45, three hours later we will know who can take the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup home. All action will be live on the website and through the app.