The Heico Gravity-Charouz Mercedes SLS AMG No.1 of Maximilian Buhk and Dominik Baumann claimed pole for tomorrow’s Race One with the French Sainteloc Racing Audi R8 LMS No.16 of Gregory Guilvert and Marc Sourd claiming top spot for Race Two on Monday after an absorbing Qualifying session in Nogaro.
Darkening skies, with a hint of rain, greeted the cars for the first two Qualifying sessions of the 2012 season.
Germany’s Buhk set a lap of 1:27.293 in Qualifying One to claim pole for Race One, which takes place at 16:35 (GMT/UTC +2). Buhk was content with his day’s work and is looking ahead to tomorrow’s race.
“I am happy because the conditions were quite difficult at the beginning with some parts of the track wet and some not so wet but overall we made a good job so I look forward to the race tomorrow.”
Home favourite Guilvert then went on to set the fastest time in Qualifying Two as his Sainteloc Racing squad claimed an Audi one-two in the session and for Sunday’s Race Two starting grid.
Guilvert’s lap of 1:26.602 was the fastest of the day, as he eased his way to pole with a 0.777 gap to Sainteloc team-mate and fellow Frenchman Dino Lunardi.
Guilvert said the Sainteloc team used local knowledge to good effect. “The car is still very new but we know Nogaro very well because we are French and we do every year a race on this track. It gives us a little bit of an advantage over our competitors,” he said. “Tomorrow we will have a good fight with Dino (Lunardi). He is a very good driver and strong competitor.”
The AF Corse Ferraris pushed strongly in both sessions, with Michael Lyons (GBR) claiming third in the opening period, before team-mate Stefano Gai repeated the feat also qualifying in third in the No. 51 car, this time for Race Two.
The Italian said: “It was my first Qualifying in FIA GT3. I made a mistake at corner five and we lost the possibility to take second place. The balance of the car is very good. Tomorrow we will attack from the first lap.”
Gai’s qualifying effort was backed by the strong performances from Giuseppe Ciro (ITA) and Gaetano Ardagna Perez (VEN) in the sister AF Corse Ferrari with third and fourth in the timesheets in either session.
British driver Lyons said: “I’m quite happy with the time, and the team have done a good job. I’m really settling in well with the team, we have quite a good balance to the car and we are in great shape for the race.
“I think we have been very mature with the work that we did on Friday. Possibly we have an advantage due to what we did, and we should be in good shape for both races,” he added.
Rhino’s Leipert Motorsport’s pair of Lamborghini Gallardo LP600s set solid times in Qualifying One and will start sixth and seventh.
The Valmon Racing Team Russia Aston Martin finished last in both sessions after some difficult early running, and will be looking to stay with the pack in Sunday and Monday’s races.