Earl Bamber will start tomorrow’s Total 24 Hours of Spa from 20th after a difficult top-20 shootout for the large Porsche contingent.
In the hands of Laurens Vanthoor for the shootout, the No.98 Rowe Porsche was over three-seconds adrift of the pole-sitting Mercedes AMG of Raffaele Marciello.
Marciello was one of the last drivers to stroll onto the circuit for his flying lap, meaning most of the lap was completed under the blanket of darkness.
Nonetheless, Marciello surged to the top of the timesheets with 2:32.166 around the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Pole was then sealed when Kelvin van der Linde, who topped preliminary qualifying, could only muster second on the final attempt for the WRT Audi squad.
Mercedes-AMG and Audi locked out the top five positions as last year’s pole-sitter Maro Engel qualified third for Haupt Racing Team, ahead of Audi Sport Team duo of Frederic Vervisch and Christopher Haase
Last year’s race-winning Porsche was the best of the 911s in sixth at the hands of Austrian racer Thomas Preining. Behind saw the first of the non-German-made cars with the AF Corsa Ferrari of Alessandro Pier Guidi in seventh, ahead of the Lamborghini outfit Orange 1 FFF Racing Team.
Austrian GT star Matt Campbell will start 11th in the second GPX Porsche with co-driver Patrick Pilet at the helm for the shootout.
Ex-pat Kiwi Tom Blomqvist is driving the Hub Auto Corsa Ferrari this year alongside experienced endurance pairing Kamui Kobayashi and Marcos Gomes.
They too were another big name to fluster in the shootout and will start a lowly 16th.
This year’s rendition of the hallowed twice-around-the-clock endurance classic is slated to begin from 2.30 am NZT.
Despite initially scheduled as a 25-hour race courtesy of a clash with the end of European daylight savings, the event programme has been revised with the 50-strong grid now back to running the intended 24-hour duration.