Augusto Farfus, driving the #42 BMW Team Schnitzer BMW M6 GT3 he shares with Martin Tomczyk and Nicholas Yelloly, took pole position for the Suzuka 10 Hours, the penultimate round of the 2018 Intercontinental GT Challenge. The Brazilian driver lapped the iconic 5.807 kms circuit in 2:00.455, .076 seconds quicker than the #Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 driven by Dries Vanthoor, who put in a 2:00.531.
Completing the top three for tomorrow’s race was the #34 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW driven by Nick Catsburg who put in a 2:00.729 in the car he shares with Christian Krognes and Mikkel Jensen.
Farfus was delighted with the session but was mindful that the race is over ten hours.
“It was a great lap and probably one of the best laps I’ve ever done,” said Augusto Farfus. “We made some changes to the car and we knew with the drop in temperature the car would have got better. Thanks to the team and I’m very happy that I put the car on pole position.
“It’s a long race and it doesn’t mean a lot but it’s good to start on pole and it gives us a lot of motivation.”
The 15-minute Super Pole session got underway under overcast skies and with cooler temperatures, suggesting that lap times would be quicker than we had seen in the three qualifying sessions previously.
Maxi Goetz, at wheel of the #77 Mercedes-AMG team Craft-Bamboo Racing, set the early pace with a 2:01.071, the quickest lap time of the day, on his second lap with Jules Gounon, driving the #107 Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3, immediately going quicker with a 2:01.002.
Many of the teams were looking to set an early banker lap with threatening rain clouds gathering at the edge of the circuit. Some, however, were looking to take fresh rubber midway through the session, a gamble given the weather forecast.
Augusto Farfus laid down a 2:00.455 in the #42 BMW team Schnitzer to head the timing screens on his third lap, a time that would eventually turn out to be pole. There was some discussion that regulations stating that lap-times would be deleted if a car stopped in the pits during the session would be imposed. This did not turn out to be the case.
Maxi Goetz and Maxi Buhk, current leaders in the Drivers Standings, had disappointing sessions. Goetz could only manage eighth quickest in the in the #77 Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, lapping in 2:01.071 while Maro Engel, teammate with Maxi Buhk and Raffaele Marciello, finished the session ninth quickest with a 2:01.177.
The lights go out for the Suzuka 10 Hours at 10:00 local time (02:00 UK time) on Sunday August