Scuderia Praha Ferrari on pole for the inaugural 24H Portimão
Matteo Malucelli qualified quickest for the season finale of the 2017 24H Series
Portimão - The Scuderia Praha Ferrari 488 GT3 (#11, Jiri Pisarik/Josef Král/Matteo Malucelli) will start the inaugural Hankook 24H Portimão from pole position. Matteo Malucelli qualified quickest for the season finale of the 2017 24H Series powered by Hankook, lapping the 4.653 kilometre Autódromo Internacional do Algarve circuit in 1:44.524 minutes.
Outpaced by only 0.011 seconds, the GP Extreme Renault RS01 FGT3 (#28, Jean-Pierre Valentini/Jordan Grogor/Nicky Pastorelli/Axcil Jefferies/Pierre Brice Mena) will start from second on the grid. With an overall margin of 0.488 seconds, the GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (#963, Christoph Lenz/Roberto Pampanini/Milos Pavlovic/Rik Breukers/Mauro Calamia) settled for third.
Quickest A6-Am team was the GP Extreme Renault RS01 FGT3 (#27, Frederic Fatien/Stuart Hall/Nicky Pastorelli/Tiziano Carugati/Bassam Kronfli). With his lap time of 1:47.444 minutes, Stuart Hall went into seventh position overall. The Car Collection Motorsport Audi R8 LMS (#32, Horst Felbermayr Jr./Henry Littig/Klaus Koch/Toni Forné/Peter Schmidt) missed the class lead by just 0.021 seconds.
The Herberth Motorsport Porsche 991 GT3 R (#911, Daniel Allemann/Ralf Bohn/Robert Renauer/Alfred Renauer) is entered in the A6-Am class this time and qualified third. The A6-Am squads will have to run according to a minimum reference lap time throughout the 24 hour distance, but can go much further on one fuel load, which keeps up their podium ambitions.
The SP2 top spots went to three Porsche teams. Charles Espenlaub in the PROsport Performance Porsche 991 Cup (#85, Charles Putman/Charles Espenlaub/Joe Foster/Andy Pilgrim) outpaced the IDEC Sport Racing Porsche 991 Cup (#75, David Abramczyk/Stephane Adler/Romain Vozniak/Michael Blanchemain/Christophe Cresp) by 1.664 seconds. 0.376 seconds further down, the B2F compétition Porsche 991 Cup (#35, Benoit Fretin/Bruno Fretin/Michel Mitieus/Jean-Charles Levy) reached the third spot.
SP3-GT4 and the TCR Qualifying
Qualifying was held in two sessions of 45 minutes each. Before the A6 and SP2 cars went out, the SP3-GT4 and the TCR machinery had set their times in the first session.
Quickest in that session was the Optimum Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4 (#231, Dan O'Brien/Aleksander Schjerpen/Oliver Wilkinson). Irishman Dan O'Brien set his time of 1:54.507 minutes in the early stages and rested the car for the rest of the session, confident that the three driver lineup has gained enough track experience. Their only class rival, the production-based Parkalgar Racing Team Honda Civic Type R (#188, Chris Hoy/Roger Green/Joaquim Penteado/Peter Brookes/Matt Brookes), was almost 17 seconds slower. From second to last place, six-time Olympic gold medalist Chris Hoy will start his first 24 hour race since his 2016 campaign at Le Mans.
With the top three cars within one and a half seconds, the gaps in the TCR class were much closer. The Team Altran Peugeot Peugeot 308 Racing Cup (#908, Stéphane Ventaja/Gonzalo Martin de Andres/Thierry Boyer/Thierry Chkondali) set the pace with a time of 1:58.194 minutes, posted by Gonzalo Martin de Andres. The Cadspeed Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR SEQ (#108, Ricky Coomber/David Drinkwater/James Kaye/Jim Briody/Erik Holstein) followed with a 0.242 second gap. On his final run, James Kaye actually went quicker than Gonzalo Martin de Andres, but got his time deleted for a track limit offense.
The B2F compétition Peugeot 308 Racing Cup (#335, Thomas Fretin/Pascal Colon/Laetitia Tortelier/Régis Paillard) qualified third. The second Team Altran Peugeot, the Team Altran Peugeot Peugeot 308 Racing Cup (#308, Thierry Blaise/Kim Holmgaard/Michael Carlsen/Mathieu Sentis), failed to set a lap time with an ongoing gearbox change after free practice.
Night practice will be held from 20.30 hrs till 22.00 hrs local time tonight. Tomorrow, there is a warm-up from 11.00 hrs till 11.30 hrs. The race starts at 15.30 hrs.
Decision in Portugal: 24H Portimão is season finale of the 2017 24H Series
Scuderia Praha Ferrari wins the 24H Portimão
Porsche factory driver Laurens Vanthoor says his "nightmare" early crash out of the Nurburgring 24 Hours following contact with his brother Dries was "a black day in my career".
Audi and its Phoenix team scored their sixth overall victory at the Nurburgring 24 Hours, with the #15 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II of Kelvin van der Linde, Dries Vanthoor, Fred Vervisch and Robin Frijns taking honours.
The 50th edition of the Nurburgring 24 Hours could be decided by tyre choice as mixed weather conditions are impacting the final hours of the event.