The four qualifying sessions for the 24 Hours of Spa, saw the 488 GT3s of HubAuto Corsa and SMP Racing win a place in the Superpole, the session that on Friday will decide the definitive starting grid for the demanding Belgian race. With 72 cars on the track, it was hard to avoid traffic, and this was one of the factors affecting the performance of the Prancing Horse crews.
Qualifying format. There were four sessions against the clock, with the crewmembers taking one each. The final qualifying time was then calculated on the average of the fastest laps set by the individual drivers. The top 20 take part in the Superpole, which decides the first ten rows of the starting grid. In this session, the driver picked by the team can only do two laps against the clock.
Towards Superpole. The Ferrari of HubAuto Corsa steadily improved its times over the four sessions to finish fourth overall, 318 thousandths off the Black Falcon Mercedes driven by Engel, Buurman, and Stolz. After skipping the first session as the team has three drivers, Nick Cassidy entered the fray, stopping the clock at 2:20.374. Then came Nick Foster with the faster time of 2:19.721, further improved on by Daniel Serra with 2:19.570. The three-time average of 2:19.888 placed the 488 GT3 of HubAuto Corsa in fourth. The Ferrari of SMP Racing finished a little further back in twelfth. Miguel Molina tackled the second session for the championship leaders. Running into traffic, he stopped the clock at 2:20.503. He was then followed by Mikhail Aleshin in 2:20.228 and Davide Rigon in 2:19.753.
Class by class. In the Pro category, Pier Guidi-Bird-Calado clocked the 25th fastest time of 2:20.573. The car of Rinaldi Racing with Salikhov, Bulatov, Perel, and Dontjie was sixth fastest (2:21.198) in the Silver Cup and 40th overall. In the Pro-Am, the 488 GT3 of Tempesta Racing was third fastest (2:21.781), while the cars of AF Corse (2:22.092) and Scuderia Praha (2:22.120) finished respectively sixth and seventh. In the Am Cup, car no. 33 of Rinaldi Racing came second (2:22.170) followed by the 444 of HB Racing (2:22.448), while Rinaldi Racing’s second car, a 488, closed in sixth with a time of 2:23.306.
Programme. At the end of the four qualifying sessions, there was a 90-minute nighttime free practice. In this session, where each crewmember had to complete at least two timed laps, the best of the Ferraris was once again HubAuto Corsa’s car crewed by Foster, Cassidy and Serra. It secured the second-fastest time (2:20.567) just 277 thousandths behind the Porsche of GPX Racing with Lietz-Christensen-Estre at the wheel. On Friday the action on the track will be concentrated in the afternoon with the warm-up at 6:15 pm followed by Superpole at 7:05 pm.