The two 488 GT3 Evo 2020s of SMP Racing and AF Corse will start ahead of the field as the Paul Ricard 1000km gets underway, the final round of the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup. The #72 Ferrari of Sirotkin, Fuoco and Vilander scooped their first pole of the season ahead of the # 51 crewed by Pier Guidi, Blomqvist and Ledogar. With the Italian in contention for the title and SMP Racing still battling for the team standings, tomorrow’s race promises to be an interesting one for Maranello machinery. Pole position also went to the #93 Sky Tempesta Racing-run Ferrari driven by Cheever, Froggatt and Hui in Pro Am class.
Q1. In the opening qualifying session Pier Guidi and Vilander completed the French circuit with a lap of 1’54”063, putting them in third position in Pro class. In Pro Am, Chris Froggatt proved quickest, clocking up a 1’55″064 lap, followed in third place by Bontempelli in car #52 with a time of 1’55″443. Seventh and ninth position went to the two Rinaldi Racing-run Ferraris, with Hook ahead of team-mate Ehret.
Q2. The debut of Antonio Fuoco in the GT World Challenge was a red letter day thanks to a time which proved unmatchable to rivals. The Italian driver chalked up 1’53″372, which saw him three tenths-of-a-second ahead of Blomqvist’s Ferrari in second spot. In Pro Am class, Keilwitz posted the fourth best performance for Rinaldi Racing with 1’55″377, ahead of team-mate Lauck, fifth with 1’55″412. Sixth and eighth time went to Hui and Machiels.
Q3. The final practice session turned out to be the decisive one in defining the starting grid. Once again, the SMP Racing Ferrari confirmed their excellent feeling with the French track with Sirotkin able to record the day’s best time of 1’53″301. Ledogar, at the wheel of the AF Corse 488 GT3 Evo 2020, took fourth position with a time of 1’53″613. In Pro Am class, Cheever rounded off the third session with 1’54″092 while Perel took fifth place for Rinaldi’s Ferrari with a time of 1’54″232. Sixth best performance went to Mediani, while the Le Mans Cup champion, Mastronardi, finished eighth.
Front row. The overall average time registered in qualifying moves the two Ferraris of SMP Racing and AF Corse onto the front row, as well as the Sky Tempesta Racing entry in Pro Am class. The other 488 GT3 Evo 2020 will head off from the third row, with the #52 AF Corse car ahead of Rinaldi Racing’s #95, while the #488 sister car of the German team, will start from ninth position.