Earl Bamber will start from a lowly 10th on the grid for the Kyalami 9 Hour after unexplainable issues had the points-leading Porsche driver struggle to unlock pace.
Bamber and co-drivers Lauren Vanthoor and Kevin Estre come into the Intercontinental GT Challenge finale with a slender one-point lead in the driver’s standings.
However, they will need to charge from the second-to-last row on the grid if they are to have a shot at the title after they were comfortably knocked out in the pre-shootout qualifying session.
The team trialled some late setup changes in the first segment of qualifying with more fuel on board. Unfortunately, that only seemed to compound the issue and all three drivers had dramas trying to wrestle a misbehaving car around the 4.2km circuit.
“Somehow there was a glitch with our car at the beginning of the weekend,” said Estre.
“Because of the poor vehicle balance, we tried a different setup in the first qualifying sessions. Unfortunately, that took us in an even worse direction.
“Our car oversteers on many sections of the track. The rear gets unstable out of the blue. Our team will now check everything again thoroughly before the start of the race.
“We hope that we can get rid of the ‘gremlins’ in time for the season finale. If we manage that, everything is still possible in a nine-hour race, even after a disappointing qualifying.”
Earlier in the day, Farnbacher had placed the NSX that he shares with Renger van der Zande and Bertrand Baguette on provisional pole in the session to determine the running order of the shootout.
Joining the Honda crew on the front row is the No.7 Bathurst 12 Hour-winning Bentley M-Sport combo of Jordan Pepper, drivers Maxime Soulet and Jules Gounon.
This weekend marks the final race for Bentley’s M-Sport programme with the British marque winding down its GT3 involvement at the end of the year.
Sheldon van der Linde was the leading BMW in third. The Walkenhorst Motorsport found almost eight-tenths between qualifying and the shootout to round out an impressive day for the team.
He will grid up next to the Audi Sport R8 of Christopher Haas who ended the qualifying session as the sole Audi to scrape into the shootout.
The German powerhouse has suffered a frustrating weekend so far with neither of the four R8s demonstrating competitive pace over the preceding practice sessions.
After setting an unofficial lap record twice on Thursday in practice, Matt Campbell will start fifth in the GPX Racing Porsche.
The Kyalami 9 Hour is due to get underway from 10 pm NZT tonight.