Barcelona Blancpain GT: Frijns on pole, points leader Bentley 28th – autosport.com
Robin Frijns takes pole as the championship-leading Bentley could only qualify 28th for the final Endurance Cup round of the Blancpain GT Series in Barcelona.
Andy Soucek failed to get a clear lap in the final 15-minute qualifying session and ended 1.8 seconds off the pace in the #8 Bentley Continental GT3 he shares with Maxime Soulet and Vincent Abril.
The Spanish driver’s 1m47.889s left the Bentley trio, who have an eight-point advantage at the head of the championship, 27 places down on its nearest rival for the title.
Mirko Bortolotti put the lead Grasser Lamborghini Huracan GT3, Bentley’s only rival for the endurance drivers’ title, second on the grid.
The Italian, who shares the Lambo with Andrea Caldarelli and Christian Engelhart, posted a 1m46.257s to end up just over two tenths behind pole winner Frijns in the best of the WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3s.
The three qualifying sessions were held on a drying track, which meant the times continued to improve through to the end of the final mini-session.
Frijns, who claimed the pole with a 1m46.019s, said, “the track was improving all the time, so I wanted the peak of the tyres at the right time.
“Luckily I got a clear lap and it was good enough for pole.”
Daniel Juncadella took third in the best of the Auto Sport Promotion Mercedes-AMG GT3s with a 1m46.493s, while Franck Perera was fourth in the fastest of the HTP Mercs with a 1m46.723s.
Fastest in the pro-am class was Jules Gounon, winner of the Spa 24 Hours enduro with Audi, in seventh position on his return to the ASP Merc team in the BGTS Endurance Cup.
Bentley’s hopes of the claiming the teams’ championship, which it leads by 17 points, were hit by a big shunt for the #7 car.
Guy Smith lost the car on the exit of the final corner at the start of the opening session and hit the pitwall.
The car he shares with Steven Kane and Oliver Jarvis took no further part in qualifying.