Shane Van Gisbergen in the #58 Garage 59 Team McLaren set the fastest time of the two qualifying sessions for the 2016 Total 24 Hours of Spa.
On his first flying lap in the second session, the Kiwi ace took advantage of the slightly cooler temperatures at the start of the night session and set a 2’18.474 lap, slicing a tiny 0.058 of a second from the time set by 2013 winner Maxi Götz (#86 AMG-Team HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG) during the session one to take the provisional pole for Saturday’s race.
“It was a pretty tough start to the day with the weather but it got better and better.” said Van Gisbergen “The car was not too good to begin with but we chipped away at the set-up and got there in the end.
“We were 19th at the end of the first qualifying session, so right on the edge and needed to do a better job tonight! Of course, that has only got us into the Super Pole shootout but we are happy with where we are.”
Dani Juncadella in the #56 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG clocked the third time overall also setting the fastest time in the Pro-Am Cup but since four Pro-Am Cup cars qualified for Friday’s Superpole, pole position in the category will be decided at the same time as the overall pole position.
With only the 20 fastest cars still participating in Friday’s Superpole in the Am Cup and the National Group the fight for the best starting position was decided during the two qualifying sessions.
Niki Cadei only needed three laps in the #888 Kessel Racing Ferrari to claim top spot in the Am Cup (and 36th overall), while the duel between the two National Group Porsche 911 GT3 Cup was decided in favour of the #230 SpeedLover car, with Grégory Paisse setting the fastest time in the first session.
“I only needed three laps in the end, although we did spend some time fine-tuning the car during Pre-Qualifying.” said Cadei after the session.
“During my first lap I found a car in the middle of Blanchimont, which spoiled that run and kept us out of the Super Pole, which was our initial aim.”
With the starting positions 21 to 65 all now decided, the top-20 positions will be determined during Friday’s Superpole, which starts at 18.00. Since 24 cars qualified within the same second on Thursday, the fight for the best starting position promises to be exciting. The 30-minute session will be streamed live on the websites of the Total 24 Hours of Spa and the Blancpain GT Series.