24 hours at Spa : Best time in Super Pole and pole position for the Porsche 911 GT3 R

Porsche 911 GT3 R, Hubert Motorsport (#20), Antares Au (HK), Tim Heinemann (D), Matteo Cairoli (I), Jannes Fittje (D)

– Matteo Cairoli posts fastest time at Spa for Huber Motorsport
– Pure Rxcing customer squad starts from the second grid row
– Six of the 14 Porsche 911 GT3 R qualified for the Super Pole session
– Manthey EMA’s ‘Grello’ best Porsche in the Pro category
– 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps gets underway on Saturday at 4:30 pm

The Porsche customer team Huber Motorsport tackles the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps from pole position. The endurance classic is considered the most important race in the world for vehicles complying with the FIA GT3 regulations. Matteo Cairoli set the fastest time on the Belgian Grand Prix circuit on Friday afternoon with a time of 2:16.880 minutes. The former Porsche Junior from Italy shares the 911 GT3 R fielded by the German racing team with Antares Au from Hong Kong and the two Germans Tim Heinemann and Jannes Fittje. Austrian Klaus Bachler qualified in third place for Pure Rxcing. Eighth place went to French Porsche works driver Frédéric Makowiecki driving for the CLRT squad.

In the rainy qualifying session on Thursday evening, a total of six 911 racing cars qualified for the Super Pole individual time trial for the fastest 20. This gave them entry into the Super Pole session on Friday and a chance to fight for the best grid positions for the endurance race on the 7.004-kilometre Formula 1 circuit. Matteo Cairoli was the third to last driver to attempt his two flying laps. At his first attempt, the Italian promptly topped the timesheets. At the end of the session, he was still ahead by 0.116 seconds and secured pole position for himself, his Hubert Motorsport squad and his teammates.

Klaus Bachler also had his sights set on pole position. In the four-heat qualifying on Thursday, Pure Rxcing’s 911 had set the best average time of all contenders. Subsequently, the Austrian was the last to head out on the track in the Super Pole session. In his first attempt he posted a time of 2:17.232 minutes, in his second lap he left the track briefly. Joining forces with his teammates Joel Sturm and Marco Seefried from Germany as well as Aliaksandr Malykhin (United Kingdom), he will start from the second grid row on Saturday.

The eighth fastest time went to Frédéric Makowiecki. The French Porsche works driver shares the 911 GT3 R fielded by the CLRT team with his fellow countrymen Clément Mateu, Hugo Chevallier and Steven Palette. With this, three Porsche racers lock out the first three grid spots in the Bronze Cup category. As the best Pro car, Julien Andlauer achieved P14 in the so-called ‘Grello’ of the customer racing team Manthey EMA. The former Porsche Junior’s first flying lap was cancelled after he exceeded the track limits. Andlauer shares driving duties with works drivers Laurens Vanthoor from Belgium and Frenchman Kévin Estre. Robert Renauer planted the 911 campaigned by Herberth Motorsport on P15. The German shares the cockpit of the up to 416 kW (565 PS) GT3 race car with his brother Alfred, Ralf Bohn from Germany and the Dutchman Kay van Berlo. Tackling the Super Pole session in the sixth and last Porsche, Earl Bamber clinched the 17th spot. The New Zealander, who secured overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2015 and 2017 as a Porsche works driver, competes for Grove Racing with his Australian teammates Anton de Pasquale, Stephen and Brenton Grove.

The 24-hour race on the Belgian Grand Prix circuit is considered the most significant event for GT3 cars worldwide and counts towards the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup as well as the Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC). Drivers and cars earn points for the GT World Challenge after six, twelve and 24 hours. The race will be live-streamed on the website www.intercontinentalgtchallenge.com.

Comments on the Super Pole
Sebastian Golz (Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R): « Congratulations to Huber Motorsport – Matteo Cairoli drove a flawless lap. Klaus Bachler also gave a mega performance and was spot-on in his first lap. Our customer teams are very strong and have achieved excellent grid positions in all classes in which we are involved. Even though today was only half the battle, we have laid the foundation and we’ll now stay focused as we head into the 24-hour race. »

Matteo Cairoli (Porsche 911 GT3 R #20): « This pole position feels fantastic – especially since I didn’t expect such a great result. In yesterday’s pre-qualifying, we were still a bit off with our car setup in comparable conditions. We didn’t know whether the changes we had made would work. However, the Porsche 911 GT3 R was really fast today and I felt great. I achieved my fastest lap on my very first attempt. I was even faster on the second lap, but then I made a minor mistake and abandoned the lap. It doesn’t matter, it was good enough… »

Klaus Bachler (Porsche 911 GT3R #911): « Third place puts us in an excellent position for the race. Our 911 GT3 R ran beautifully and we’re well prepared. Plus, our driver crew is in top form and highly motivated. Everything is going according to plan. We’re excited to start the race. »

Frédéric Makowiecki (Porsche 911 GT3R #44): « I’m proud of the team! It’s their first time contesting the Spa 24-hour race. We’re doing well. Sure, we can still tweak a few minor details but our Porsche is running very nicely. Now we’ll build on the experience we have all gained. Our grid position is great, now we’re looking forward to a strong race. »

Super Pole results
1. (BC) Au/Heinemann/Cairoli/Fittje (HK/D/I/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R #20, 2:16.880 minutes
2. (1st Pro) Rovera/Shwartzmann/Nielsen (I/ISR/DK) Ferrari 296 GT3 #51, 2:16.996 minutes
3. (2nd BC) Bachler/Malykhin/Sturm/Seefried (A/UK/D/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R #911, 2:17.232 minutes
8. (3rd BC) Palette/Mateu/Makowiecki/Chevalier (F/F/F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 R #44, 2:17.399 minutes
14. (6th Pro) Vanthoor/Estre/Andlauer (B/F/F). Porsche 911 GT3 R #92, 2:17.791 minutes
15. (5th BC) Bohn/A. Renauer/R. Renauer/van Berlo (D/D/D/NL), Porsche 911 GT3 R #91, 2:17.835 minutes
17. (6th BC) B. Grove/S. Grove/Bamber/de Pasquale (AUS/AUS/NZ/AUS), Porsche 911 GT3 R #23, 2:17.997 minutes

The remaining grid positions
30. (15th Pro) Preining/Heinrich/Olsen (A/D/N), Porsche 911 GT3 R #96, 2:32.039 minutes
31. (9th BC) Pierce/Jewiss/Meyrick/Maassen (UK/UK/UK/NL), Porsche 911 GT3 R #62, 2:32.104 minutes
35. (2nd PAC) Leutwiler/Jacoma/Fontana/Menzel (CH/CH/CH/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R #24, 2:32.405 minutes
37. (16th Pro) Güven/Müller/Engelhart (TR/D/D) Porsche 911 GT3 R #54, 2:32.704 minutes
55. (17th BC) Sager/Nakken/Barker/Zöchling (A/N/UK/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R #55, 2:35.620 minutes
58. (8th SC) Sathienthirakul/Rappange/di Amato/de Leener (T/NL/I/UK), Porsche 911 GT3 R #56, 2:38.436 minutes
67. (10th PAC) Tjia/Shen/Simonsen/Beche (HK/HK/DKCH), Porsche 911 GT3 R #216, no time
68. (11th PAC): Washington/Sofronas/Bleekemolen/Long (USA/USA/NL/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R #132, no time

Pro = Pro class; PAC = Pro-Am Cup; GC = Gold Cup; SC = Silver Cup; BC = Bronze Cup.

Holger Eckhardt,