History was made at the ADAC Zurich Nürburgring 24 Hours in the Top-30 shootout qualifying session as Laurens Vanthoor took pole with a time of 8:09.105, the first time that a time under 8:10 has been set during the Top-30 session.
Incredibly, four cars went under the 8:10 mark.
First it was the Falken Porsche of Sven Müller who put in one lap to achieve his time of 8:09.522. It stood for most of the session but Vanthoor in the #911 Manthey Porsche stole the show.
Vanthoor’s first lap was in the 8:10s but he was determined to do better. On his second timed lap he got a little sideways, kicked up some dirt and carried a few flowers back with him.
“I was happy with Q2 as we got things sorted after yesterday but I didn’t expect us to get this lap time,” Vanthoor said after qualifying.
“We have done two VLNs before so the team has enough data for the race, but the issue will be if the weather comes in.”
For Muller though, the time will give the Falken Motorsport squad a boost as they try to take their first Nürburgring 24 win.
“I couldn’t do a second lap as my [personal] battery was empty!” Müller said.
“They work really hard, the guys from Falken. We tried some new tyres that we can see are working, we will stay out of trouble but the Nürburgring race is the hardest for human, team, tyre and the cars. You don’t know what could happen but we hope for success.”
Norbert Seidler made it a Porsche 1-2-3 with a time of 8:09.824 in the Frikadelli Racing Team Porsche.
The first of the non-Porsche’s was Maro Engel in the Black Falcon Mercedes AMG GT3. His time of 8:09.916 was just 0.8 off pole.
All eyes had been on the #7 Aston Martin of Nicki Thiim who looked like he could have wrecked the Porsche party but the Aston faded to just miss the 8:09 second bracket. His time of 8:10.020 would have put him on pole last year but was only good enough for fifth this time around.
Fred Makowiecki in the Manthey #912 was next before a trio of Mercedes led by #47 Daniel Juncadella (8:10.399), #48 Maxi Götz (8:10.522) and #5 Yelmer Buurman (8:10.723).
The top 10 was rounded out with a time of 8:11.546 by the Rowe Racing BMW with Jesse Krohn behind the wheel.
In the SP-X class, it was the GTronix 360 Team Renault R.S.01 of Heiko Hammel who led Andreas Simonsen’s Glickenhaus SCG003c. The Renault came home in 26th with a time of 8:15.354 compared to the 28th best time for Simonsen at 8:15.934.
But all eyes will be on the Porsches come the race tomorrow. With a 1-2-3 on the grid, 0.8 faster than the best Mercedes, 2.4 better than the best BMW, 2.5 to the Ferrari and 3.4 better than the best Audi – that of Chris Mies, the advantage seems to be firmly with Porsche.
The race gets underway at 3:30pm local time on Saturday.