Blancpain GT Series, Round 8, Sprint Cup, Hungaroring – Qualifying:
An excellent shoot out performance from Jake Dennis ensured that the #3 WRT Audi R8 LMS will start the Qualifying Race of round eight of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup from fourth position at the Hungaroring.
The Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver, teaming up with Dutch racer Pieter Schothorst for the weekend, headed into Saturday morning’s qualifying session with the Team WRT squad experiencing positive results in the previous day’s practice sessions.
Fellow RSF-backed racer Ben Barnicoat teamed up with regular sprint team-mate Alvaro Parente in the #58 Strakka Racing-run McLaren 650 S GT3 machine.
Schothorst and Barnicoat headed out in their respective cars in the 15-minute, first of three qualifying sessions. The Strakka outfit held their three McLaren cars in the pit lane towards the end of the session, enabling Barnicoat to set the seventh quickest time of 1m 44.079s despite losing a quicker time to track limits infringements.
Schothorst found Q1 life trickier, struggling to get a quick lap time in traffic and only able to set a time of 1m 52.471s which was good enough for 24th position.
Dennis climbed into the #3 Audi for the second qualifying session and immediately found space on the track on his first flying tour of the 2.7-mile circuit, setting the sixth overall quickest lap.
The 2012 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner then improved further on his second lap to move into third position with a time of 1m 42.854s and ended the session in 10th position as other drivers improved.
Barnicoat’s team-mate Parente improved the car’s best overall time in Q2 with a lap of 1m 43.217s, concluding the session in 18th position. Unfortunately that time was not enough to enable the McLaren to move into the final third qualifying session and the car would start Saturday’s qualifying race from 18th on the grid.
Dennis remained in the #3 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS for the third qualifying session, and immediately continued his earlier form. With limited time leaving drivers no room for error, Dennis improved the car’s overall time on his first two successive flying laps, moving up to fourth place overall.
On his third and final flying lap, personal best times in sectors one and three were good enough to improve Dennis’ lap time to 1m 42.620s, but it was not quick enough to move any further spots on the grid.
The #3 Team WRT Audi will therefore start from fourth place for Saturday afternoon’s Qualifying Race encounter.
The fellow #5 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS of Marcel Fässler and Dries Vanthoor continued their domination of the weekend by scoring pole position with a time of 1m 42.359s. The Lamborgini Huracan GT3 machine of Christian Engelhart and Mirko Bortolotti will start alongside from second position.
|Hungaroring (4.381km / 2.722 miles): Qualifying (Top 10)|
|Pos||Driver||Team||Car||Time / Gap|
|1||Fässler / Vanthoor||Team WRT||Audi R8 LMS||1m 42.359s|
|2||Engelhart / Bortolotti||GRT Grasser Racing||Lambourghini Huracan GT3||+0.171s|
|3||Perera / Buhk||HTP Motorsport||Mercedes-AMG GT3||+0.183s|
|4||Dennis / Schothorst||Team WRT||Audi R8 LMS||+0.261s|
|5||Leonard / Frijns||Team WRT||Audi R8 LMS||+0.261s|
|6||Baumann / Eriksson||AKKA ASP||Mercedes-AMG GT3||+0.309s|
|7||Ide / Mies||Team WRT||Audi R8 LMS||+0.307s|
|8||Meadows / Marciello||AKKA ASP||Mercedes-AMG GT3||+0.309s|
|9||Soulet / Soucek||Bentley Team M-Sport||Bentley Continental GT3||+0.401s|
|10||Abril / Kane||Bentley Team M-Sport||Bentley Continental GT3||+0.440s|
|13||Barnicoat / Parente||Strakka Racing||McLaren 650 S GT3||+0.858s|
Free practice 1: Barnicoat/Parente 23rd, 1m 45.314s, +1.228s; Dennis/Schothorst 9th, 1m 44.410s, +0.324s. Free practice 2: Barnicoat/Parente 13th, 1m 43.544s, +0.641s; Dennis/Schothorst 14th, 1m 43.564s, +0.661s. Qualifying: Barnicoat/Parente 18th, 1m 43.217s, +0.858s; Dennis/Schothorst 4th, 1m 42.620s, +0.261s.
Photo: Olivier Beroud / Vision Sport Agency. Copyright-free Racing Steps Foundation images are available from the RSF Image Bank at www.jakobebrey.com/rsf