The #76 R-Motorsport Aston Martin V12 Vantage, piloted by Matthieu Vaxivière, Jake Dennis and Nicki Thiim, took pole position for the Circuit Paul Ricard 1000kms with an aggregate lap-time of 1:54.303, taking the team’s second pole of the season. Joining the #76 car on front row of the 51-car grid will be the #58 Garage 59 McLaren 650S GT3 in which Andrew Watson, Ben Barnicoat and Côme Ledogar set an average lap-time of 1:54.374 round the 5.91 km Provence circuit.
Completing the top three was the #72 SMP Racing Ferrari F488 GT3 with the driver line-up of Mikhail Aleshin, Miguel Molina and Davide Rigon who set an aggregate time of 1:54.512 after Molina went quickest in the second session with a 1:54.153.
The three fifteen-minute sessions went without incident although there was a brief red-flag shown seconds after the chequered flag went out at the end of Q2.
Staring from pole in class in the Pro-Am Cup category will be the #49 Ram Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Darren Burke, Salih Yoluc and Euan Hankey, the #49 entry lapping in an average of 1:55.600. Class pole in the Silver Cup category was set by the #54 Alex Fontana/Adrian Zaugg/Mikael Grenier-piloted Emil Frey Jaguar Racing G3 Jaguar with a 1:54.919.
After taking the win at the previous round at Silverstone, the #188 Garage 59 McLaren 650S GT3 of Alexander West, Chris Harris and Chris Goodwin continued its run of form by taking the Am Cup class pole with an average lap-time of 1:55.970.
Although this is the second consecutive pole position for the #76 R-Motorsport Aston Martin, the first is still in dispute after the car was disqualified from qualifying at Silverstone and raced from pole position under appeal. It is understood the appeal is due to be heard mid-month.
Notwithstanding, the team was delighted to be starting from the front for the second time in two weeks.
“Two in a row, baby! It’s amazing!” said Nicki Thiim, who went quickest over the three sessions with a 1:54.169. “Again, it’s all about being consistent and we had some really consistent lap-times. It’s really tight at the front but it feels great!”
“What a day!” said Jake Dennis. “Double pole with Silverstone. We thought it would be tough and it was. It was pretty tight this weekend and we did a mega-job. Nicki pulled it out in the end and what a lap to secure it!”
The lights go out for the Circuit Paul Ricard 1000kms, the fifth round of the 2018 Blancpain GT Series and the third round of the Endurance Cup, at 17:45 local time.
Photo courtesy of Pirelli