Larbre Competition will start the Spa 24 Hours from pole position after a lap late from Pedro Lamy proved good enough the #7 Saleen S7R on top of the times at the famous Ardennes circuit.
Having left it until the final five minutes of qualifying, which took place over the course of Thursday and Friday, the factory Peugeot Le Mans driver posted a quickest time of 2m 13.923s to put the car he will share with Steve Zacchia, Vincent Vosse and Greg Franchi to the top of the times.
With the Jetalliance Aston Martin, which had held the provisional pole overnight, failing to better its time during the Friday running, the battle for pole became a two-horse race between Lamy in the Saleen and newly-announced Audi ALMS driver Marcel Fassler in the Phoenix Racing Corvette C6.R.
Fassler had looked set to claim pole position with a lap of 2m 14.246 but Lamy's late lap means that the defending race winners – Fassler, Jean-Denis Deletraz, Fabrizio Gollin and Mike Hezemans - will have to settle for second place on the grid for the blue riband event on the FIA GT Championship calendar.
The lone Jetalliance entry, with all four regular drivers running together in the same car for the event, will start from the second row of the grid with the team having elected to just run one lap during Friday to conserve the car ahead of the race – where it ran well last season before being forced into retirement.
“We are where we wanted to be,” team owner Lukas Lichtner-Hoyer said. “It's not crucial whether we are starting from the first or the second row on the grid in a 24 hour race. As long as the car doesn't play tricks on us, we will be up front.”
The Aston Martin will share the second row of the grid with the second of the Corvettes, although whether or not the SRT-entered C6.R will make it to the start depends on the team completing repairs needed after Christophe Bouchut was involved in a heavy accident at Blanchimont. Bouchut was taken to hospital following the accident but has been cleared to race, if the team can repair the damaged Corvette in time. It marks the second time in a matter of weeks that the team has been forced to conduct repairs after a Spa shunt, with Soheil Ayari having crashed the car during an FFSA event at the venue last month.
The Vitaphone Maserati of Miguel Ramos, Alex Negrao, Alessandro Pierguidi and Stephane Lemeret will line up fifth on the grid, while the second of the Phoenix Corvettes completes the top six in the hands of Alex Margaritis, Jos Menten, Uwe Alzen and Robert Schlussen completes the top six. The second Vitaphone MC12, the IPB Spartak Lamborghini, the Gigawave Aston Martin and the JMB Maserati round out the top ten.
None of the leading GT2 cars improved on lap-times posted on Thursday, which meant that Thomas Biagi's lap of 2m 21.504s was good enough to put AF Corse on top of the pile, two-tenths of a second ahead of the similar Ferrari 430 entered by BMS Scuderia Italia – the team having elected to downsize to one car for the race by combining its two driving squads. The IMSA Performance team lead the Porsche challenge with the third quickest time.
The McDonald's Racing Porsche 996 Bi-Turbo was easily quickest of the two entries in the G2 class in 23rd overall, with the Belgian Racing Gillet Vertigo was down in 36th overall.
In G3, the #123 Muehlner Motorsport Porsche took class honours ahead of the Team Eurotech Ascari – which will contesting a 24 hour race for the first time in the hands of BTCC racer Mike Jordan and regular pairing David and Godfrey Jones. The Gpr Pino Racing Porsche rounds out the top three.
Quickest of the Coupe du Roi cars was the #182 JMB Racing Ferrari F430, well clear of the sister #181 car.