Intercontinental GT Challenge

Team WRT Audi On Provisional Pole At Suzuka (24.08.19)

Kelvin van der Linde, Dries Vanthoor and Frederic Vervisch put the #25 Audi Sport team WRT on provisional pole for the Suzuka 10 Hours, the penultimate round of the 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge, lapping the 5.807 kms Suzuka circuit in in aggregate time of 6:06.522, .811 seconds quicker than the #27 HubAuto Corsa Ferrari F488 GT3 driven by Nick Cassidy, Nick Foster and, driving the final session, Heikki Kovalainen.

Completing the top three over the course of the three 15-minute sessions was the # 77 Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 piloted by Yelmer Buurman, Luca Stolz and Drivers Standings leader Maxi Goetz.

Qualifying got underway in warm and dry conditions, in contrast to the practice sessions. The #912 Absolute Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R driven by Dennis Olson and #188 Garage59 Aston Martin with Alexander West at the wheel both had issues early in the first session, Olson suffering a puncture and West having the bonnet of the Aston Martin becoming detached.

Maxi Goetz set the early pace with a 2:02.232 in the #77 Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 prior to the session being red-flagged with 3:21 remaining following a spin and contact with the barrier by the #2 CarsTokaiDream28 Lotus Evora.

Mika Hakkinen had lapped in 2:03.340 in the #11 Planex SmaCam Racing McLaren 720S GT3 prior to the red flag and sat 13th on the timing screens.

When the session resumed, most of the grid remained in the pits and prepared for the second session. Just prior to the chequered flag, Nico Bastian in the #75 SunEnergy1 Racing put in a 2:02.104 to move to the top of the table.

As the second session got underway and with more rubber on the track, times lap times started to fall with Nick Foster in the #27 HubAuto Corsa Ferrari F488 GT3 putting in the first sub 2:02 lap with a 2:01.926. Kelvin van der Linde also broke into the 2:01s with a 2:01.494, putting the #25 Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 at the top of the aggregate times as the session concluded.

When the chequered flag came out in the third session, Frederic Vervisch, driving the #25 Audi, stood the top of the timings screens with an aggregate time of 6:07.333. There was disappointment for Porsche with the #911 EBM Porsche 911 GT3 R sitting in 24th, having set an aggregate time of 6:10.860.

The 30-minute Pole Shoot Out session gets underway at 17:30 local time (09:30 UK time) on Saturday August 24 with the flag dropping for the start of the Suzuka 10 Hours at 10:00 local time (02:00 UK time) on Sunday August 25.