Three Lolas-Aston Martin will start from the first and second rows of the grid for the Nürburgring 1,000kms this weekend – with the stated aim to replicate that performance when the points are handed out on race day.
Aston Martin Racing currently lies second in both drivers' and teams' standings, four points behind Pescarolo Sport. Had they not changed the engine after the qualifying session at Spa, the squad would only be short by two points, with the drivers of the #007 Lola-Aston Martin having climbed on the podium three times in a row, but only once on the top step. In Germany this weekend, there is only one objective, pole-sitter Stefan Mücke revealed.
“I chose to spend half of the session in the pits and waited for a clear lap,” explained the home hero. “The car is good and the time could have been better without the yellow flag. It is great to have two Aston Martin Racing cars on the front row. We will try to do our best tomorrow, but it is true that we are in a good position for the race and that we score one point for the pole.”
Lola-Aston Martin fully ruled the qualifying session as Marcel Fässler set the third-fastest time at the wheel of the Speedy Racing Team Sebah's car, behind the fellow front row-sitting #009 LMP1 machine of Harold Primat and Darren Turner. The Swiss team already showed a strong performance in the first free practice session, dealing with a very tricky track surface because of heavy rain – and is clearly keen to shake off the bad luck that has plagued it since the beginning of the season.
Olivier Pla chalked up the best time in the LMP2 class very early in the session. The Quifel-ASM Team ruled most of the free practice sessions like at Portimao, with the Portuguese team currently leading the class following its clear victory in its home race and endeavouring to repeat that success three weeks on and defend its standing.
From second place, four cars are within four tenths of a second. G.A.C. Racing is aiming to continue to forge ahead off the back of its first podium of the year in Portugal, and Speedy Racing Team Sebah can still clinch the title at the end of the campaign – but needs a good result to keep its chances alive. With so many teams able to win, the race looks like being a particularly tough one.
In the GT1 class, Laurent Groppi, in his very first outing in Le Mans Series, impressively posted the best time with the Larbre Compétition Saleen, in front of the Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette as there are only two cars on the entry list.
In GT2, finally, Korean tyre manufacturer Hankook secured its maiden pole in the GT2 class thanks to Pierre Kaffer. The German driver rates the Nordschleife as his favourite track and chalked up the best time with his Hankook Team Farnbacher Ferrari on the grand prix circuit. The team will likely will have a hard time on race day to contain Team Modena, however, as Antonio Garcia demonstrated again how fast he can be and bids to repeat – and even improve upon – the second place obtained at Spa. Team Felbermayr-Proton will start from the second row of the grid courtesy of Marc Lieb's effort.
To see the qualifying times in full, click here