BMW claims quickest time so far after qualifying at Spa

The Pirelli tyres for all 57 starters at this weekend’s Spa 24 Hours are identical, but it is BMW and Audi that has made the best use of them so far, after two qualifying sessions held firstly in daylight and then at night. The other manufacturers, including Ferrari, McLaren and Bentley, are in close pursuit, indicating a closely matched competition this weekend. The fastest time overall today was from Belgium’s Maxime Martin, who set a benchmark of 2m18.397s during the first qualifying session held in daylight from 20:00-21:15, at the wheel of the BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS Z4. During the second qualifying session, held in darkness from 21:45-23:45, Frenchman Stephane Ortelli was quickest with a time of 2m18.608s in the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT R8. The best times from the first and second sessions combined will form the qualifying times, with the top 20 of those going through to the all-important superpole session tomorrow from 16:10-16:35. During this crucial session, the eligible teams will fight for the top 20 places on the grid. The others will start in the order in which they finished tonight. Despite the variety of cars competing on the event, with different drivetrain layouts, they all use the same Pirelli DHC slick tyre. This is a hard-compound, low working range tyre that is well equipped to cope with the widely varying demands of Spa both at night and during the day. Pirelli’s senior engineer Matteo Braga commented: “Considering the huge array of cars using the same tyre on this long and demanding circuit, the times were incredibly close, with around 24 cars within one second. We experienced dry weather throughout both sessions today, but we will only see the ultimate performance during the superpole session tomorrow, as the objective for the frontrunners this evening was to just to claim their place in the top 20.”  


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