Late Nürburgring 24 Hour call-up Earl Bamber will start this year’s race from 17th as Porsche endured a challenging qualifying session.
The German manufacturer looked impressive over the preceding qualifying sessions, comfortably landing a spot in the final Top Qualifying pole shootout.
But the team’s pole-position aspirations were sucker-punched when top qualifier and Bamber’s co-driver Dennis Olsen rolled to a halt in the opening stages of the Nordschleife loop.
The team were unable to rectify the issue and failed to post a time.
The only other Porsche in the mix was the Pro-Am No. 30 Frikadelli Racing 911 GT3 R who could only muster a time quick enough for 14th.
Pole was awarded to Maro Engel in the No.4 Mercedes AMG GT3 whose third and final lap time of an 8.57.884s was the only sub-nine-minute marker of the session.
Mercedes ruled the roost in qualifying to hold three of the top four starting positions. Only Luca Ludwig in the Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo could split the German outfit and will join the No.4 on the front row in tomorrow’s race.
Bathurst 12 Hour podium finisher Raffaele Marciello was bumped by the Ferrari off the provisional front row late in the session and will start third while Daniel Juncadella was fourth in the sister AMG.
The first two BMW M6 GT3s will lock out the third row of the grid as Nick Yelloly set a last gasp effort which edged him ahead of ex-N24 pole-sitter Augusto Farfus.
For Kiwi driver Bamber, the result is a difficult pill to swallow after the No.18 Porsche finished in the top-four in every session and ended up second to only the pole-sitting Mercedes in the earlier Q1.
The 48th running of the Nürburgring 24 Hour gets underway from 1.30 am NZT and will be live-streamed via Velocity News.