Porsche front row lockout in GTE ProIt was all smiles in the Team Manthey garage with a 1-2 for the final LMGTE qualifying of the 2013 season. The no92 Porsche AG Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR of Richard Lietz and Marc Lieb took the team’s first pole position of the season but it nearly all went wrong at the start of the session when Lietz had to pit when the gearbox got stuck in 3rd gear. A quick fix by the Porsche mechanics soon had the Austrian back in the fray.
Joining the no92 Porsche on the front row is the sister car of Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Pilet, finishing the 25-minute session just 0.123 seconds behind the pole car with an average lap time of 1m58.960.
The championship leading Aston Martin Racing Vantage V8 of Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke moved to the head of row two when Turner put in a last gasp flying lap to move up from 6th place at the chequered flag. This means they start tomorrow’s race alongside their nearest rival for the title, the no51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia of Gianmaria Bruni, who is joined by Toni Vilander for this weekend. The no99 Aston Martin Vantage of Bruno Senna, Ritchie Stanaway and Pedro Lamy with start from 5th on the grid, alongside the nr71 AF Corse Ferrari of Giancarlo Fisichella and Kamui Kobayashi.
In LMGTE Am the no95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage V8 of Christoffer Nygaard, Nicki Thiim and Kristian Poulsen took their 6th class pole by the narrowest of margins. Nygaard and Thiim’s average was a 2m00.303s, just 0.034s ahead of the nr81 8 Star Motorsports Ferrari of Rui Aguas, Davide Rigon and Enzo Potolicchio.
The head of row two for the LMGTE Am class was taken by championship leading Aston Martin Vantage of Jamie Campbell-Walter and Stuart Hall, with the double race winners being joined once again by Roald Goeth for the finale of the 2013 season. Their time of 2m00.496 was less than two tenths behind their teammates on pole and just 0.031s ahead of the nr61 AF Corse Ferrari of Matt Griffin, Emmanuel Collard and Francois Perrodo.
The nearest rivals to Campbell-Walter and Hall for the driver’s championship could only manage 5th, with the no76 IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche of Raymond Narac, Jean-Karl vernay and Markus Paltalla posting a 2m00.880 average, four tenths ahead of the nr88 Proton Competition Porsche.
The nr50 Larbre Competition Chevrolet Corvette only managed one lap before Patrick Bornhauser had to come back into the pits with a gearbox problem. The mechanics soon had the engine covers off as they sought to find the source of the problem. Unfortunately they failed to find a solution and the Corvette failed to complete another lap.
The grid is now set for the final showdown of the 2013 season, with the 6 Hours of Bahrain getting underway at 15:00 (local) on Saturday 30 November.