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Qualifying report
Endurance 24 Hours of Nurburgring

Nurburgring 24h: Marciello puts HRT Mercedes on pole

The #4 HRT Mercedes-AMG GT3 shared by Raffaele Marciello, Luca Stolz, Philip Ellis and Edoardo Mortara will start this weekend's Nurburgring 24 Hours from pole position.

In an exciting Top Qualifying 2 session, Marciello set the fastest lap of 8m09.058s to beat Mercedes colleague Maro Engel in the #3 GetSpeed car by four tenths of a second.

Kelvin van der Linde surprised with the Abt Lamborghini to take third on the grid, followed by Nicky Catsburg in the Frikadelli Racing Ferrari.

The previous Top Qualifying 1 session had to be red-flagged after a heavy crash for Christian Krognes in the Walkenhorst BMW M4 GT3, as the Norwegian slid into the tyre stacks in the Hatzenbach section due to a dirty track.

"It was a surprising moment because I suddenly lost grip on the front axle," reported the BMW driver. Heavy damage to the barriers, as well as the BMW, prompted race control to suspend the session, but fortunately Krognes was uninjured.

 

When the session resumed, there was only enough time for teams to set one more time, with five cars earning spots to progress to the all-important Top Qualifying 2 pole shootout.

The fastest time was set by Ricardo Feller in the #16 Phoenix Audi on 8m10.046s, with the sister #5 car taking second. Also advancing to the pole shootout were the WTM Ferrari, the #2 GetSpeed Mercedes and the #1 Phoenix Audi, with the 'Grello' Manthey Porsche missing out.

Drivers had time to set two laps in Top Qualifying 2, with Marciello putting the HRT Mercedes ahead after the first runs. In the end, the Italian's lap would stay unbeaten, with Engel putting the GetSpeed car he shares with Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella second.

Van der Linde, Marco Mapelli, Jordan Pepper and Nicki Thiim will start from third in the #27 Abt Lamborghini Huracan GT3, joined on the second row by the best of the new Ferrari 296 GT3s, the #30 Frikadelli machine of Catsburg, Earl Bamber, David Pittard and Felipe Fernandez Laser.

 

The best-placed Audi on the grid is the #5 Phoenix car of Frank Stippler, Vincent Kolb, Alexander Sims and Renger van der Zande, followed by the top Porsche 911 GT3 R, the #44 Falken Motorsports car of Tim Heinemann, Martin Ragginger, Christian Menzel and Joel Eriksson.

Arjun Maini, who topped the opening two qualifying sessions of the weekend, was only seventh in the #6 HRT Mercedes he shares with Hubert Haupt and Jordan Love.

Completing the top 10 are the #1 Phoenix Audi of Feller, Frederic Vervisch, Mattia Drudi and Dennis Lind, the sister #16 car in which Feller will share with Kim-Luis Schramm, Markus Winkelhock and Michele Beretta, and the #2 GetSpeed Mercedes of Fabian Schiller, Maxi Gotz and Adam Christodoulou. 

BMW failed to get a car in the top 10 on the grid, with its best-placed representative being the #99 Rowe car of Augusto Farfus, Philipp Eng, Connor De Philippi and Nick Yelloly in 11th place.

Report by Sonke Brederlow

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