After a substantial delay due to the global pandemic, the 2020 GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS finally got underway at Aurodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, the debut visit for the premier SRO series to the Italian circuit and the first time the championship had raced on an anti-clockwise racetrack.
Frederick Vervisch, Mattia Drudi and Kim Luis Schramm, sharing the driving duties in the #66 Attempto Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3, topped the timing sheets with an average lap time of 1:41.799 to take overall pole position for the opening round of the 2020 GT World Challenge Powered by AWS series and the first of a four-round Endurance Cup championship.
Joining the #66 Audi on the front row for Sunday’s three-hour contest will be the #51 AF Corse Ferrari F488 GT3 in which Alessandro Pier Guidi, Nicklas Nielsen and James Calado lapped in an average of 1:41.843.
Completing the overall top three was the #88 AKKA ASP Team Mercedes-AMG GT3, piloted by Raffaele Marciello, Timur Boguslavskiy and Felipe Fraga.
Class pole position in the Silver Cup category went to the #15 Tech 1 Racing Timothe Buret / Thomas Neubauer / Aurelien Panis Lexus RC F GT3 which qualified with an average lap-time of 1:42.031. Second quickest in the Silver Cup class was the #159 Garage 59 Aston Martin Vantage AMR.
Pole position in the Pro-Am Cup category was taken by #93 Sky Tempesta Racing Ferrari F488 GT3 driven by Chris Froggatt, Jonathan Hui and Eddie Cheever.
The first 15-minute session saw drama for Dries Vanthoor in the #32 Belgian Audi Club team WRT Audi R8 LMS after an off-track excursion at the exit of Piratella as Raffaele Marciello went quickest with a1:41.899 in the #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Vanthoor recovered, however, to put in a 1:41.882 on his eighth lap to go quickest in the session, relegating Marciello to second.
Mattia Drudi in the #88 Attempto Racing Audi R8 LMS was third quickest, just .008 seconds behind Marciello with the quickest of the Silver Cup entries, the #66 Tech 1 Racing Lexus RC F GT3, in fourth.
The second session saw the two-driver entries sitting it out as Julian Andlauer set the early pace with a 1:42.262 in the #99 ROWE Racing Porsche 911 GT3-R. The two K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3s of Andy Soucek and Maxime Soulet were second and third on the timing screens.
Mirko Bortolotti lapped in 1:41.791 on his seventh lap to go quickest in the session and put the #31 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi on provisional pole. Second quickest on average after the second session was the #4 HRT Mercedes in which Luca Stolz had put in a 1:41.902.
With less than half a second separating the top 18 on the provisional grid, the third session was going to be critical in securing a good start position in the three-hour race.
Jules Gounon went quickest of all three sessions with a 1:41.344 in the #3 K-PAX Racing Bentley but it was Frederick Vervisch’s 1:41.435 that put the #66 Attempto Racing Audi on provisional pole.
The lights go out for the first round of the 2020 GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS at 13:30 local time (12:30 BST) on Sunday July 26.