A misty Spa-Francorchamps greeted the International GT Open drivers for this morning’s 30-minute qualifying session, and it was Rinaldi Racing’s David Perel that found the best pace of anyone on track to head an all-Ferrari front row for race one of the weekend.
For the first 10 minutes of the session the #333 Ferrari 488 GT3 of Perel seemed relatively anonymous, while another Ferrari – the #51 Luzich Racing entry driven by Mikkel Mac – found the best early pace, topping the timing sheets with a 2:17.087 on his first flying lap and improving to a 2:16.700 on the next run out of the bus-stop chicane.
Mac was joined at the sharp end by reigning GT Open champion Giovanni Venturini, who found a 2:16.892 in his #63 Imperiale Racing Lamborghini.
With just under ten minutes complete, Perel crossed the line to go second, however, his 2:16.8 was almost immediately deleted from the timing screen due to track limit violations. Perel promptly proved that the time was not an anomaly on his next lap, going top by other two tenths of a second with a 2:16.441.
A brief lull in front row troubling times followed, before this weekend’s guests Senkyr Motorsport (#17 BMW M6 GT3) lowered the bar further with a 2:16.136. The FIA CEZ regulars had placed Slovakian prospect and single-seater convert Richard Gonda in the car for first qualifying.
While pole would ultimately elude him, Gonda succeeded in diverting the attention previously reserved for his teammate – 19-year-old DTM starlet Joel Eriksson – back towards himself.
Only two drivers would find a better time than Gonda in the final six minutes of the session; the first was David Perel, who again pushed the limits of his PRO-AM class #333 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari to take pole with a 2:15.807. Mikkel Mac improved to a 2:16.125 late on in the #51 Luzich Ferrari to take second, followed by Gonda’s Senkyr BMW and Riccardo Agostini (#25 Imperiale Lamborghini), who found a 2:16.267 late in the session.
Fifth place on the grid for race one is Lourenço Beirão da Veiga in the #3 Teo Martin BMW, with Giovanni Venturini rounding out the top six in the #63 Imperiale Lamborghini.
AM-polesitter Rinat Salikhov, who will be driving solo in the second Rinaldi Ferrari – car #993 – will start from seventh in the overall order this afternoon, with eight cars between he and closest AM competitor António Coimbra in the #99 Sports & You Mercedes.
This afternoon’s race will begin at 15:25 CEST.