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Blancpain Endurance Series: Nürburgring, Qualifying, Lamborghini Pole, Nissan 2-3

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Mirko Borotolotti put the #63 Lamborghini on pole position for Sunday’s Blancpain Endurance Series Nurburgring race, after the final part of qualifying was cut short due to an off for WRT’s Pro-Am Audi.

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Nissan GT-Rs line up second and third thanks to the efforts of Alex Buncombe in the #23 RJN car and Craig Dolby in the #173 Always Evolving entry. The result is a significant boost for the #23 crew of Buncombe, Katsumasa Chiyo and Wolfgang Reip’s championship run.

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Going into Q3, the #31 Bentley held provisional pole, ahead of the AE Nissan, the #1 WRT Audi, the championship-contending #99 ROWE Mercedes and the #75 ISR Audi.

Buncombe then got the #23 Nissan into the top five before his initial effort was eclipsed by Dolby (below) in the #173, who set the fastest time of the weekend up to that point: a 1:54.752. He was pipped very shortly afterwards by Bortolotti’s 1:54.735.

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Buncombe wasn’t done yet, however, getting in another flyer to go ahead of the other Nissan, slotting in behind Bortolotti’s Lamborghini with a 1:54.707. Any other last-gasp flyers were cut short when Pieter Schothorst went off into the barriers at T17 in the #4 WRT Audi, bringing out a red flag that nullified the last few minutes of the session.

So it would be a Lamborghini-Nissan-Nissan top three, with the #59 Von Ryan McLaren fourth, the #21 Black Falcon Mercedes fifth and the #31 Bentley sixth. Of the other title contenders apart from the #23 Nissan, the #7 Bentley will line up seventh, the #99 ROWE Mercedes is 12th and the points-leading #2 Audi is 14th.

“I’m really proud and happy to get my second pole of the season,” said Bortolotti afterwards. “The conditions were tricky, as they always are at the Nurburgring.” Although the drivers of the #63 are out of championship contention, Grasser Lamborghini is still in with a shot at the team title.

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Gaetan Paletou (above) secured Pro-Am pole (and eighth on the grid overall) for the #22 Nissan, while the fastest Am car in the session was the #34 Car Collection Mercedes of Alexander Mattschull, down in 41st overall.

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Apart from Schothorst’s off, the only other incident during qualifying was a spin for TF Sport Aston Martin man Salih Yoluc in Q1 that brought out a brief full-course yellow.

Elsewhere, the AF Corse mechanics successfully repaired the significant damage to Matt Griffin and Duncan Cameron’s #51 Ferrari following yesterday’s pre-qualifying incident. The already-crowned Pro-Am champions will line up in 26th place overall.

The lights go out for the three-hour season finale at 2:45pm local time on Sunday.

SE