François Kirmann snatched his third pole position of the season in the #3 DKR Engineering Norma M30 Nissan at Portimao this afternoon with a 1:40.560 tour of the circuit.
His time was nearly half a second quicker than the LMP3 Michelin Le Mans Cup leading #25 Lanan Racing Norma M30 Nissan driven by Michael Benham who set a 1:41.025. Third in class was series newcomer Rob Wheldon in the #14 RLR M Sport Ligier JSP3, who set an impressive 1:41.048.
Wheldon was actually fastest during the earlier part of the qualifying session. Kirmann took over the lead on his third flying lap and locked his pole position on his fifth attempt. In the mean time, Benham tried to take the lead repeatedly but the frequent abuse of track limits led race marshalls to cancel many of his fastest lap times.
The #25 and the #3 are now separated by six points in the LMP3 Championship. Both cars will fight tomorrow for the LMP3 Michelin Le Mans Cup title.
Fabien Lavergne snatched the GT3 pole in the #71 Luzich Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 with a 1:43.546. That time was seven tenths of a second faster than the GT3 Cup leader, the #8 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 driven by Sergio Pianezzola who set a 1:44.259. It is the Frenchman’s third pole position, this season.
The result also means that Lavergne scored an additional championship point for the team and reduced the gap with the #71 Championship leading Ferrari from nine to eight points.
The Frenchman dominated the entire session. Pianezzola did all he could to close the gap yet the repeated abuse of track limits led, here as well, to the cancellation of several of his fastest lap times.
Third in class was the #88 Ebimotors Porsche 911 GT3 R shared by Paolo Venerosi and Alessandro Baccani (1:45.144). The #88 is no longer in contention for the GT3 title.
Next up for the Michelin Le Mans Cup contenders is the 2 hour race on Sunday, starting at 9am local time.
Featured image courtesy of Le Mans Cup