AKKA ASP Team locked out both pole positions for the two one-hour races at Round Eight of the 2018 Blancpain GT Series at the Hungaroring and the third weekend of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup. Nico Bastian, driving the #90 AKKA ASP Team Mercedes-AMG GT3, took his first pole position in the series when he lapped the 4.381 kms circuit in 1:43.198 in the first qualifying session, Bastian later revealing that this was the first time he had raced in Hungary.
Nicolas Jamin completed AKKA ASP Team’s 1-2 in qualifying with a 1:43.349 in the sister #87 entry he shares with Denis Bulatov.
Third on the grid for Race One will the #1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT in which Alex Riberas, currently leading the drivers standings alongside teammate Christopher Mies, put in a 1:43.424.
The first qualifying session was interrupted soon after it started when the #114 Emil Frey Lexus Racing Lexus RC F GT3, with Norbert Siedler at the wheel, had a major incident at Turn 4 resulting in significant damage to the right-hand side of the car. The 20-minute session was red-flagged for ten minutes to allow for recovery and barrier repair with the #114 car remaining in the garage for Q2.
Nico Bastian was delighted to have put the #90 car on pole.
“I’m very happy for sure,” said Bastian. “It’s my first pole in Blancpain GT and it’s maybe one of the most important poles you can get this year because you cannot overtake here. If you can have a clean start it’s at least 80% of leading your stint and then we will see in the second stint what is going on with my teammate but my job is done. I’m very grateful because I had a great car by AKKA ASP Team.”
AKKA ASP Team took pole in the second qualifying session, which ran incident-free, when Raffaele Marciello put in a 1:42.688, the quickest time of the weekend, on his eighth lap of nine in the #88 Mercedes, with Luca Stolz .215 seconds behind with a 1:42.903 in the #6 BLACK FALCON entry. Stolz was quickest of the Silver class.
Completing the top three on the grid for Sunday September 2’s race was the #63 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 driven by Mirko Bortolotti who lapped in 1:43.075.
“The car felt really good around here and we have a good start position for the race,” said pole-sitter Marciello. “Michael (Meadows) did an amazing job and I think we will have a good race.”
Teammate Michael Meadows is also confident that the #88 car will have a good weekend.
“I hope so – it started well,” said Meadows. “Like Raffaele said, the car’s feeling good. I’m a little bit annoyed I didn’t put a lap together to give us a better position (in Race One) but he did an amazing lap to set that lap-time so if we’re sensible in the race, we should be OK.”
The lights go out for the first one-hour Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup race of the weekend at 15:45 local time with live coverage on the GTWorld YouTube Channel.