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AKKA ASP on Provisional Pole for Spa 24

The #88 Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Raffaele Marciello, Dani Juncadella and Jules Gounon, topped the combined average time sheets after the four qualifying sessions to take provisional pole position for the Total Energies 24 Hours of Spa. The #88 Mercedes lapped the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in an average of 2:18.433, .433 seconds ahead of the #95 Garage 59 Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 of Nicki Thiim, Marco Sorensen and Ross Gunn.

Completing the top three for the overall positions was the #66 Audi Sport team Attempto Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 driven by Mattia Drudi, Christopher Mies and Dennis Marschall who lapped in an average time of 2:19.090.

Quickest of the Silver Cup entries, and the first of four Silver Cup entries who will be competing for Silver pole was the #107 CME Bentley Continental GT3 of Ulysse De Pauw, Pierre-Alexandre Jean, Stuart White and Nelson Panciatici.

Pole position in the Pro-Am Cup category went to the #188 Garage 59 Aston Martin of Charlie Eastwood, Alexander West, Chris Goodwin and Marvin Kirchhöfer.

In a largely uneventful first qualifying session, the #107 CMR Bentley Continental driven by Stuart White went quickest, White lapping in 2:19.726. The #2 GetSpeed Pro-Am Cup Mercedes-AMG GT3 driven by Nico Bastian was second quickest, just .386 seconds behind with the #87 Silver Cup AKKA ASP Mercedes of Simon Gachet completing the top three.

However it was the second session where the real qualifying began, the three-driver Pro Cup entries having sat out Q1.

Q2 was red-flagged with over eight minutes remaining after the #16 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO driven by Tim Zimmermann went off at Raidillon and made heavy contact with the barrier. There was no word on the driver and damage to the barrier and debris on the circuit meant that a delay was inevitable.

The session resumed at 21:50 local time in almost total darkness with the #88 Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP entry at the time of the time sheets, Marciello Raffaele having lapped in 2:18.323, .004 seconds quicker than Nicki Thiim in the #95 Garage 59 Aston Martin AMR Vantage GT3.

The red flag was shown again with 50 seconds remaining, after a spin by the #31 Team WRT Silver Cup Audi driven by Ryuchiro Tomita spun and made contact with the barrier. The race director quickly announced that the session would not be re-started with Q3 due to get underway following a gap of seven minutes.

The circuit was fully dark by the time Q3 got underway at 22:07 local time. The session passed without incident with the quickest time being set by Dani Juncadella in the #88 Mercedes who put in a 2:18.565. As the session drew to a close, Juncadella’s time had put the #88 car on provisional pole with an average time of 2:18.444 followed by the #95 Garage 59 Aston Martin with an average of 2:18.760.

The final session started at 22:29 local time with Ricardo Feller in the #14 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini lapping in 2:18.067, ahead of fellow Lamborghini pilot Andrea Caldarelli in the #63 Orange 1 FFF Racing entry just over two-tenths further back.

There was disappointment for the crew of the #32 Audi Sport Team WRT Audi of Dries Vanthoor, Kelvin van der Linde and Charles Weerts. After having failed to set a time in Q2 due to the red flag, the trio finished outside the top 20 so will not be competing for Super Pole on Friday.

The 30-minute Super Pole session gets underway at 20:20 local time on Friday July 30 with the lights going out for the start of the 2021 Total Energies 24 Hours of Spa at 16:30 local time on Saturday July 31.