GT1 World: Halliday Quickest But Given Grid Penalty

Matt Halliday secured the first pole position for Porsche in the FIA GT1 World Championship earlier today, but the Exim Bank Team China Porsche 997 GT3 R was then given a three-place grid penalty for crossing the white line at the pit exit.

At 9:05am the cars went out for qualifying on a wet track and sixteen drivers went out to try to qualify for the second part of qualifying. Most drivers struggled to keep their cars between the white lines and were seen sliding over the circuit. Eventually it was Münnich Motorsport that ended Q1 at the top. Gregoire Demoustier’s Hexis Racing McLaren MP4-12C was the slowest car, whilst the Valmon Racing Team Russia Aston Martin DBRS9 #6 didn’t even take part in the session.

In the second part Yelmer Buurman showed his pace and the Dutchman was the first to get into the 1m39s in his Vita4one Racing Team BMW Z4 GT3. On a drying track Buurman posted a 1m39.978, a couple of tenths of a second quicker than his nearest rivals. The team that topped the timing sheets in yesterday’s practice session, AF Corse, failed to make the cut for Q3 and will start outside the top 8. Stef Dusseldorp (Hexis) and Mathias Lauda, Buurman’s teammate, failed to qualify for Q3 as well.

The final part of qualifying saw Matt Halliday setting the fastest times on slicks. The driver from New Zealand went faster each lap and his improvements were enough to keep the other cars behind him. Halliday eventually set a 1m33.568. Behind the Exim Bank Team China Porsche it was a fight for second place between O’Young, Jäger, Stippler and Vanthoor. The four drivers swapped positions several times, with Stippler and O’Young also getting into the 1m33’s on their final lap. Stippler eventually qualified in second, with O’Young just behind in third.

Halliday was unable to celebrate his pole position though as the stewards of the meeting handed the #9 Porsche a penalty for crossing the white line at pit exit. As a result the Porsche will start from fourth on the grid, with Frank Stippler inheriting the pole position.

(Image: Gerlach Delissen)