Daniel Keilwitz’s late 8:14.591 flyer catapulted the Wochenspiegel Team Monschau Ferrari 488 GT3 to the top of the times ahead of tonight’s Top-30 Qualifying session, securing the German team’s place in the shootout with a time 4.3 seconds faster than the best of the rest of the cars in the session, in which the times tumbled from Qualifying 1.
“I’ve had a really almost free lap, I’ve been very lucky, but now we have to wait for the Top-30 Qualifying, but the car is going well,” said Keilwitz.
It was an astonishing lap, which was just a fraction slower than Maro Engel’s record-breaking 8:14.515 in Top-30 Qualifying last year.
Behind, it was Black Falcon Mercedes AMG GT3s which slotted in second and third, with the defending champion #1 setting an 8:18.888 to go P2, while the #3 was a further tenth off in P3.
The retro-liveried #43 Schnizter BMW of Augusto Farfus, Antonio Felix da Costa, Alex Lynn and Timo Scheider secured its place in the Top 30 with an 8:18.992 on its final flying lap good enough for P4.
“Our goal was to secure the Blue Lamp and a place in the Top-30 Qualifying, which we did at the end of the session,” Farfus said.
The #8 Haribo Racing AMG GT3 took the final spot in the top five, though it too already had its Top-30 place secured prior to race-week.
In terms of the storylines heading into the Top-30 session, the late run to the top of the timing screens from Keilwitz in the #22 Ferrari saw the first Nurburgring 24 Hours top time for the Prancing Horse since 2011 when the late Allan Simonsen took the Hankook Team Farnbacher Ferrari 458 to pole position in the pre-Top 30 shoot-out era when the Dane posted an 8:23.764. It was a time incidentally that would have placed him 25th in the order after the qualifying sessions last night and this morning.
Bentley Team Abt will be delighted to get all three of its Continental GT3s into the shoot-out where they will be joined by Mercedes AMG and BMWs x seven apiece, plus five each from Audi and Porsche, the Glickenhaus pair and of course, the solo Ferrari.
Amongst the significant runners not to make the cut were the #19 Schubert BMW M6 GT3, the only one of the M6s not to make it, the #11 Konrad Lamborghini which suffered trouble at the end of the session on the Grand Prix loop, the #30 Frikadelli #59 Manthey Porsches and the #35 Renault R.S.01 after a costly off at the end of the session which ruined a late flying lap.
There was one other notable incident involving frontrunners in the session. The #100 Walkenhorst Dunlop-liveried BMW M6 GT3 was spotted by the cameras circulating with significant rear-end and bonnet damage after a shunt.
Those top times though count for nothing other than a place in the ‘best of two flying laps’, Top-30 session that begins on track here at 19:50 local time to determine pole position for the 2017 Nurburgring 24 Hours.