Spa 24H: Audi Sport Team WRT takes dominant pole for 70th edition Total 24 Hours of Spa

Spa 24H: Audi Sport Team WRT takes dominant pole for 70th edition Total 24 Hours of Spa

The #1 Audi Sport Team WRT R8 LMS will start this year’s Total 24 Hours of Spa from the head of the field after a pair of blistering laps from Dries Vanthoor in this evening’s SuperPole session.

The fastest 20 cars from yesterday evening’s qualifying progressed to the deciding shootout ahead of the race’s 70th edition, with each crew nominating one driver to contest two flying laps of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

In the event only 19 cars were able to contest the session after a heavy accident in warm-up sidelined the #88 AKKA ASP Team Mercedes-AMG GT3. Raffaele Marciello was at the wheel at the time and had also been scheduled to contest SuperPole, but the French squad will now focus on repairing the damage in time for the start of the 24 Hours.

The 19 remaining drivers ran in reverse order to their finishing positions in Thursday’s qualifying session, taking to the track at one-minute intervals.

Though his crew had taken fourth position on average times during Thursday’s qualifying, Vanthoor had in fact set the fastest individual lap and was therefore considered to be among the leading contenders to secure top spot in SuperPole.

In the event, he made it look easy. The youngster was the 16th driver to emerge on to the track and set the fastest time of the session on his first flying lap, then went even quicker on his second run to score a truly dominant pole position. For his efforts, the Belgian ace was rewarded with a special commemorative tyre by Pirelli to mark the 70th edition of the Total 24 Hours of Spa.

Vanthoor’s supremacy was confirmed by his best lap time, a 2m18.578s, which made him the only man to get below the 2m19s barrier and put 0.605s between the WRT pilot and his nearest rival.

That was another local favourite, Maxime Martin, whose time of 2m19.183s aboard the #62 R-Motorsport Aston Martin V12 Vantage had looked set to secure pole until Vanthoor showed his ultimate pace.

Nevertheless, Martin’s effort ensured that two Belgian drivers finished on top of the order at the country’s most famous circuit, while also setting the #62 crew up perfectly for the 24 Hours.

Swiss racer Nico Muller was third in his #2 Audi Sport Team WRT machine, lapping just under two tenths shy of the Aston Martin. Behind him Davide Rigon put the #72 SMP Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 in fourth spot, ensuring an excellent result for the Italian marque’s lone Pro class representative.

Kelvin van der Linde was an impressive fifth in his Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi R8 LMS, ahead of another strong performer, Come Ledogar, who led much of the session in his Garage 59 McLaren 650 S GT3. Yesterday’s qualifying pacesetter, the #34 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, will start from eighth spot.

Of the 10 brands represented in the SuperPole, seven were among the top-10 fastest runners in this evening’s session. Audi was the best represented with six cars contesting SuperPole, four of which finished among the top-10.

With SuperPole complete, the stage is now fully set for the 70th edition Total 24 Hours of Spa. The biggest GT race on the planet will begin on Saturday at 16.30 local time, with the #1 Audi Sport Team WRT machine leading the field into a twice-around-the-clock battle at the iconic Spa circuit.

Driver quotes

Dries Vanthoor, #1 Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS: “This wasn’t an easy one. When I got in the car, I decided to give everything that I possibly could. This pole position is thanks to WRT, Audi, the engineers, and all the people working in the background. Our car was absolutely amazing. Endurance races can help us score important points, especially for the Intercontinental GT Challenge, but it is going to be a long race and a lot can still happen.”

Maxime Martin, #62 R-Motorsport Aston Martin V12 Vantage: “Firstly, I would like to congratulate Dries and Nico for their performances today. An all-Belgian top-two is a nice result, especially here at Spa. This will be the first Total 24 Hours of Spa for R-Motorsport, so a place on the front row is just amazing for our guys.”

Nico Muller, #2 Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS: “The temperature affected our car today, but fortunately we had time to find a better set-up. As usual, WRT did an amazing job and gave us a very quick car. Dries pulled it out of the bag and congrats to him for that, because it was something quite exceptional. Now I just can’t wait to go racing and challenge Maxime and Dries tomorrow.”

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45 minutes ago

MotoGP

If Valentino Rossi goes to PETRONAS it's not for a farewell tour...

"I will go to them if I think I can be competitive, I can try to win races and fight for the podium" 💬

Don't miss Valentino Rossi VR46 Official's words on BT Sport MotoGP!
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Welcoming VR46 to PETRONAS Yamaha, we wish you luck as team test rider.

can you see the irony. if he cant even win in factory yamaha, could he even win on satelite team? he only win 10 times in 10 years, 3 years without one. only 1 or 2 podium a year.

Thats all i want to hear from him.. still continue and i also still want to watch motogp for sure!

That's crazy shit coming from him. 😂

Go home speedy... 💩🤡👎

"If still can competitive for race and podium, why not"

Awwww I hope he doesn’t retire soon 😢

Vale will be always the number 1...... Go Vale goooooo!!!

His move to Petronas will be 2 secure his future , when he switches to car racing

Stay to the Yamaha rossi

Yes! You can🙌🏆💥

The best ...

#forzavale #ろっしふみがんばって

MOTO GP KING VR/46

I love this man. #nohomo #forzavale

VR46👎👎👎 STOP !!.....YAMAHA/LORENZO MIX PERFETTO !!!💪💪

Keep going

Forza vale!

Blinkinth Vale

😍😍Vale

Vera Verwilligen

Rossi46Rosdi👍💪👍💪

Valentino ❤❤ VR46.

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1 hr ago

F1

Sergio Perez has been on 50% of the podiums in Azerbaijan - here's why he and BWT Racing Point F1 Team are so strong there 🇦🇿💪 ... See Less

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You can listen to the full podcast episode here ⬇️ f1.com/BTGAndrewGreen

50% of the podiums, because it’s only been on the calendar since 2016. Hard to believe that he’s had an F1 career since 2011, that’s gone quick. Only blip was that season with McLaren in 2013, didn’t exactly work out for him

because all other drivers crashed ...

"when can I have the drink", Kimi's thought at this moment.

Because Sergio Perez is a great driver and his results warrant him being on a top notch team.

All the cars should be similar. Put Lewis in Force India's car, Sergio in Lewis's Mercedes and see what happens.

The most underrated driver on the grill. He could win a tittle with a little better car.

The most underrated driver, of the grill

Any hint of a podium, he can sniff it out.

Talentoso na condução 👏🏻

Cuz he puts his teammate into the wall?

Também merece...🇧🇷🇵🇹🇦🇴

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Crystal Atlaschi 🇲🇽

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4 hrs ago

F1

That first F1 win feeling for Jordan 🎉🥳🍾 ... See Less

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Hill was a very good driver. He was the Champion of 1996. Has nearly won the Hungarian GP of 1997 with an Arrows (!!!) and took the first win for Jordan. Not much drivers came so close to win with three different Teams.

What a race that was. 13 cars crashed, Schumacher's World championship ruined by David Coulthard and finally a well fought win by a great driver with underdog team.

That was my favourite Damon Hill win although it would've been better if Ralf was allowed to race him.

Daman was in another class to Ralf , by clearly showing that with the Win 👌

I can remember the emotions that day, was always a Jordan fan and finally we got that win.

More team orders for hill to win

Damon drove like a demon that day. Commanded the race and his message to Eddie was the right call.

Such a great race. Love it when the rain kicks in and changes the field of drivers. And who didnt love the look of the Jordan cars

EJ couldn’t have R Schumacher ploughing into Hill, like he did with Fisichella at Argentina 1997. That was probably the very first thing he thought of, when making the decision

"1994 World Champion Damon Hill"- Murray Walker

Damon Hill's last victory.., brilliant race, had everything .

I won’t lie..... I was in bits watching this race live on TV I love Damon

Team Jordan was the GP team for the people. The team that let us fans see the real F1 behind the scenes. Thanks Eddie!

If no team orders ralf won that race

A great moment for Hill and Jordan. I was happy for both.

Even this race proved that there wasnt much racing in those days too. For me this was very dull race with alot of accidents and accidents dont make a race exciting

Jordan were the only team to have both races and the spare car intact after this race, every other team had at least one or two wrecked cars 🏁

Good for them hard work does pay off🏁🏁🏁🏁🏁

Well, team orders were clear but clearly Ralf wasn't happy about this.

The assumption's always been that EJ gave Damon preferential treatment, fact is interviews with both have shown that if anything, their professional relationship was always strained for various reasons.

Frankly it’s hilarious that any Schumacher can feel hard done by when it comes to team orders.

It’s you that needs to grow up and only you that’s the clown, everyone has an opinion but I notice your jumping on anyone that’s saying that the win was gifted, why not just agree to disagree instead of being rude to people.

Back when everyone had a chance, imagine these days, you have a budget of 100M$ and your best aim is 5th

First win with team orders, what a shame 👎🏼

One of the best underdog moments in F1

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