The qualifying for the 6 Hours at Spa Francorchamps in the FIA World Endurance Championship, was run on Friday evening.
After an almost six months break due to the COVID-19 situation, the cars were finally back on track, with 29 cars entered for Belgium.
Algarve Pro Racing should have been present too, but has had to withdraw as described here.
First out were the 10 GTE Am cars and 6 GTE Pro cars. Despite news last weekend of Red River Sport Ferrari #62 pulling out of the meeting this weekend, they were still present. There is quite a hefty penalty for teams not running despite being entered, so that might have given the team second thoughts of pulling out.
Nicklas Nielsen was the first out in the AF Corse Ferrari #83, and had set the pace in the three practice sessions. Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche #77 with Matt Campbell had other plans and posted the fastest lap of all GTE Am cars.
Michael Christensen was the fastest driver in GTE Pro with Porsche #92, before letting Kevin Estre having his go. They were followed by both Aston Martin Racing cars, with #97 ahead of #95.
All teams had to pit and change over to their second driver, since the FIA WEC starting grid is set by an average of the two drivers.
Michael Wainwright had a small trip off the track in the Gulf Racing Porsche #86, on his in-lap, so that didn’t have much of an effect, even though Ben Barker would have to clean the tires on his out-lap.
There was plenty of laps deleted due to Track Limits, so some of the drivers had to do more laps than originally planned.
Egidio Perfetti in Team Project 1 Porsche #56 was faster than Christian Ried i Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche #77, but the German fought back on his second flying lap, grabbing Pole Position in GTE Am. Ried shares #77 with Matt Campbell and Riccardo Pera, while Perfetti shares #56 with Laurents Hörr and Matteo Cairoli. Team Project 1 Porsche #57 with Ben Keating, Felipe Fraga and Jeroen Bleekemolen were third fastest.
Augusto Farfus, Paul Dalla Lana and Ross Gunn in AMR #98 were fourth fastest, ahead of Nicklas Nielsen, Francois Perrodo and Emmanuel Collard in AF Corse Ferrari #83 in P5 in GTE Am.
Kevin Estre in Porsche #92 did an amazing follow-up on Christensen’s first flying lap, securing Pole Position for #92. Aston Martin Racing #97 with local boy Maxime Martin and Alexander Lynn was second. Lynn had moved from Berlin to Spa overnight, after racing in Formula E last night, but was quickly up to pace in the GTE Pro car. AMR #95 with Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen was third fastest in GTE Pro, ahead of the second Porsche #91 with Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz.
Then it was time for the LMP cars and their 20 minutes of qualifying.
Rebellion Racing #1 continued their fast pace from the practice and set the fastest time of all LMP1 cars with Gustavo Menezes behind the wheel. He was however just 0,004 of a second faster than Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 and #7. ByKolles Racing Team #4 was also on track, but with a pace in the middle of the LMP2 field.
United Autosports #22 with Paul Di Resta was the fastest driver at the first shot, ahead of JOTA #38 and Racing Team Nederland #29.
Norman Nato in Rebellion Racing #1 lost his first flying lap, so really had to concentrate on his second go. Thankfully, he managed to do that so he alongside Menezes and Bruno Senna could take Pole Position, ahead of Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 with Brendon Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, and Toyota Gazoo Racing #7 with Jose Maria Lopez, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway. ByKolles Racing Team #4 with Bruno Spengler, Tom Dillmann and Oliver James Webb managed to do a fourth fastest lap on average, and get ahead of the whole LMP2 field.
Phil Hanson in United Autosports #22 posted an amazing average, and took Pole Position with more than one and a half seconds to JOTA #38 with Roberto Gonzalez, Antonio Felix da Costa and Anthony Davidson second, and Cool Racing #42 with Nicolas Lapierre, Antonin Borga and Alexandre Cougnaud on P3.
Racing Team Nederland #29 didn’t post a second flying lap, since Job van Uitert returned to the pits, without posting a legal laptime, after Giedo van der Garde himself had used a lot (too many) laps to fulfil the Track Limits.
The race will run tomorrow Saturday at 13.30 CET.
Porsche #92 lost it’s Pole Position due to Kevin Estre not respecting Track Limits on his one and only flying lap in the Qualifying. So AMR #97 will start on Pole Position in GTE Pro, ahead of AMR #95 and Porsche #91. Porsche #92 will have to start the race from sixth in GTE Pro, behind AF Corse Ferrari #71 and #51.