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FIA WEC: Spa Francorchamps, GTE Qualifying, Stanaway & Rees Hand Aston Pole

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Aston Martin Racing scored pole in both GT classes once again for the 10th time in WEC history, giving two of their Vantages prime spots on the grid for the race tomorrow as they look to take their first win of the season. Like Silverstone, the conditions were dry and the British marque was near untouchable on pace.

The duo of Richie Stanaway and Fernando Rees managed to grab pole position in GTE Pro in the #99 AMR Vantage by just 0.070 ahead of a late, but hard-charging #51 AF Corse of Gianmaria Bruni. The average of the two Aston drivers was a 2:16.840 when the chequered flag fell.

‘The conditions were very different to what we were used to,’ said Stanaway after the session. ‘So on my first lap, I tried to capitalise on the tyres but I did not manage to maximise the use of the new tyres we had. I was just happy to hand over the car to Fernando at the top of the time sheets.’

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Stanaway’s banker lap at the start of the session gave the Vantage top spot, one which it wouldn’t relinquish. The sister #97 car of Darren Turner and Stefan Mücke, running in the Gulf livery once again this weekend, looked like it would make it a 1-2 for the team. The veteran pair held second spot right up until the final two minutes when Bruni’s final flyer of 2:16.428 snatched the other spot on the front row, forcing them to settle for third. The Italian’s time was the fastest single GTE lap.

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‘I set one fast lap time then was called in to change compound. I went back out and improved my time significantly, but unfortunately couldn’t quite match the Aston.’

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Porsche had a quiet outing in the session, with the #91 leading the #92 at the tail end of the Pro field, coming home sixth and seventh.

Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana scored a commanding Am pole with an average of 2:19.578, over a second quicker than their nearest competitor; the #50 Larbre Corvette.

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It was back and forth in the class as the laps from the second drivers started to come through. Gianluca Roda’s time of 2:16.640, bringing the ‘Vette’s average down to 2:16.640 looked good enough to give the French team the best time before Dalla Lana’s final tour brought the #98’s average down enough to take pole.

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‘The car was really good, the track had a lot of grip,’ noted Lamy. ‘It was probably the most grip I’ve ever had at Spa to be honest. We could just push because of this, especially with new tyres, I was even able to take Eau Rouge flat with the set I used.’

Third in the class was Christian Ried and Klaus Bachler’s Abu Dhabi Proto Racing Porsche, ahead of the #55 AF Corse Ferrari meaning all four marques in Am took a spot in the top four.

The short 25 minute session was incident free, with all cars going out and competing the required amount of laps to qualify. They’ll line up on the grid for tomorrow’s race at 14:30 local.

Qualifying Times >>

Stephen Kilbey