Spa-Francorchamps, 26 July –Qualifying for the Spa-Francorchamps 24 Hours took place last night prior to its start today at 16.30. The AF Corse number 50 car was hustled round by Italy’s Alessandro Pier Guidi to come within a whisker of overall pole, while actually securing the top slot in the Pro Am Cup category. He shares his 458 Italia GT3 with fellow countryman Andrea Sonvico, Dutchman Simon Knap and Canadian Andrew Danyliw. In the end, he was just 46 thousandths slower than the number 1 Audi of Belgian Club Team WRT with Belgian Laurens Vanthoor and the Germansi René Rast and Markus Winkelhock, the latter a former Formula 1 driver with Spyker.
The fact the Audi race sin the Pro Cup category makes Guidi’s achievement all the more impressive. The second Ferrari will start from sixteenth on the grid, sixth in the Pro Am Cup. It’s the number 52 car, again from the AF Corse stable in the hands of Australians Steve Wyatt and Craig Lowndes and Italians Michele Rugolo and Andrea Piccini. Also in the top ten are the 458 Italia GT3 53 car (AF Corse) of Belgians Nick Hommerson and Louis Machiels and the Italians Andrea Bertolini and Marco Cioci and the number 90 of Scuderia Villorba Corse for Italians Andrea Montermini, who drove in Formula 1 for Simtek, Pacific and Forti, Andrea Rizzoli, Francesco Castellacci and Stefano Gai. Eleventh is the 54 AF Corse car which won the Pro Am Cup last year, crewed by the British drivers Duncan Cameron and Alex Mortimer and Ireland’s Matt Griffin.
In the Gentlemen Trophy pole position went by just 113 thousandths to the Porsche entered by Delahaye Racing for Frenchmen Pierre-Etienne Bordet and Alexandre Viron, Belgium’s Stephane Lemeret and Saudi Karim Al Azhari ahead of the 458 Italia GT3 of the Duqueine Engineering team crewed by Frenchmen Philippe Colançon, Gilles Duqueine and Paul Lanchere with the Italian Leonardo Gorini. The crew that dominated the early part of the season, France’s Pierre Ehret and the German Alexander Mattschull, this time teamed with Germany’s Tim Mueller and the Dutchman Roger Grouwels. in the Ferrari 458 entered by GT Corse by Rinaldi, was only sixth and 54th overall. However, it’s a long race and it’s entirely possible to move up the order.