The #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes made it two-for-two in qualifying for the Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS Sprint Cup double-header at Brands Hatch after a post-qualifying penalty was served on the Ben Barnicoat’s #38 JOTA McLaren 720S GT3. Barnicoat was quickest on track in the first 20-minute qualifyings session.
AKKA ASP’s Timur Boguslavskiy finished .064 seconds behind Barnicoat’s McLaren with Charles Weerts in third in the championship-leading #32 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3.
However, a penalty of a drop of two grid positions was served on the JOTA pilot for ‘impeding other cars’. The penalty promoted Boguslavskiy on to pole with the #6 Mercedes-AMG Team Toksport with Barnicoat replacing Charles Weerts in third on the grid.
Under a sky which constantly threatened, and eventually delivered, rain, Ben Barnicoat, at the wheel of the #38 JOTA McLaren 720S GT3, initially took pole position for Race One of the two-race double-header Sprint Cup weekend in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS at Brands Hatch. For the grid for Race Two, Raffaele Marciello took pole in the #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 as rain brought the grid back to the pit lane with half the session remaining.
Pole position in the Silver Cup class went to the #14 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 in which Ricardo Feller set a 1:24.493 in the car he shares with Alex Fontana. Second on the Silver Cup grid will be the #6 CMR Bentley Continental GT3 after Pierre Alexander Jean put in a 1:24.586.
Quickest of the Pro-Am entries was the #52 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3, Louis Machiels setting a 1:26.185.
In the second qualifying session Raffaele Marciello put the #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes on pole with a 1:23.660, just .091 seconds ahead of Maro Engel in the #6 Toksport Mercedes. Championship leader Dries Vanthoor in the #32 Team WRT Audi completed the overall top three.
Class honours in the Silver Cup category went to the #7 Toksport WRT Mercedes whilst Jonny Adam was quickest of the Pro-Am field with a 1:24.356 in the #188 Garage 59 Aston Martin.
Pierre Alexander Jean set the early pace in the first session and was quickest in the #107 Bentley with a 1:24.677 after nine minutes. Ricardo Feller in the #14 Lamborghini almost immediately went quicker by two-thousandths of a second as most of the front-runners called into the pits.
Championship leader Charles Weerts in the #32 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS was eighth with eight minutes remaining.
Luca Stolz had been waiting to put in his quickest lap and put the #6 Mercedes-AMG Team Toksport entry on provisional pole by almost a quarter of a second as Jean in the #107 Bentley went quickest in the first sector to second.
Times were starting to tumble as Charles Weerts in the #32 Audi went quickest with a 1:24.413 just ahead of Barnicoat setting his quickest time in the #38 JOTA McLaren.
The second qualifying session got underway under threatening skies as Raffaele Marciello went under 1:24 for the first time over all three sessions of the day with a 1:23.660, nearly half a second ahead of Dries Vanthoor in the #32 Audi.
Rain started to fall in the pit lane with more than half the session remaining. The majority of the grid returned to the pitlane as Marciello’s provisional pole time looked to be out of reach as the clock counted down.
Many teams sent cars back out with less than four minutes remaining but AKKA ASP made the decision to keep Marciello in the pit lane. Dries Vanthoor in the #32 Audi did decide to go back out and was rewarded by going second quickest with a 1:23.865 before Maro Engel set a 1:23.751 to join Marciello on the front row for Sunday’s second one-hour sprint contest.
Marciello’s pole position was his second of the 2021 season.
The lights go out for Race One at 11:00 local time on Sunday August 29 with Race Two getting underway at 15:45.