The qualifying sessions escaped rain, despite big black clouds that overshadowed the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. It was during a session without any major incidents that a hybrid prototype qualified on pole for the very first time with Allan McNish at the wheel of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2.
The Scottish driver was the only one to get below 2’02”. With a time of 2’01” 579, he led his nearest rival, the young Marco Bonanomi, (who will race tomorrow for the first time with Audi) by more than half a second. The young Italian hoisted the #4 R18 Ultra (the new non-hybrid car the German manufacturer) to the front row, ahead of of Marcel Fässler the Audi hybrid #1 that dominated first place during all the free practice sessions.
Rebellion Racing continued its momentum with the best performance of a private team in LMP1. Neel Jani set a time of 2’04” 234, ahead of Danny Watts and the Strakka HPD, followed by Andrea Belicchi in the second Rebellion Lola-Toyota.
John Martin distinguished himself by making sure the LMP2 pole position with the blue and white liveried #25 Oreca-Nissan of ADR-Delta. Although it did not improved the time set by Soheil Ayari in the second session of the free practice, the young Australian once again demonstrated the pace of the Oreca prototype powered by a Japanese engine, while James Rossiter confirmed that the performance of the Lola-Lotus #32 of the Lotus team this morning at the third and final free practice session.
In LMGTE Pro Ferrari locked out the front row, thanks to Frederic Makowiecki for Luxury Racing and Giancarlo Fisichella for AF Corse setting the two best times. Only the French driver was able to go below the 2’19” 770, but the top five competitors in the class are covered by just over a second, promising a very tight battle for the race tomorrow.
Ferrari did not quite make the Pro and Am double, as Nicolas Armindo hoisted the team IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche into in first place on the LMGTE Am starting grid. The #81 Ferrari of Marco Cioci and #58 of Gunnar Jeannette had to be content with second and third positions.
Cars are now placed in parc fermé until the warm-up that starts at 10:05 tomorrow morning.
(Image: Gerlach Delissen)