Blancpain Endurance Series – Vita4One Ferrari Claims French Pole

August 28, 2011


Reigning GT1 World Champion Michael Bartels claimed the first pole position of the season in the nr29 Vita4One Ferrari 458 Italia in the final qualifying session witha time of 1:39.219, beating Stephane Ortelli‘s nr32 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 to the top spot by just 0.031s. Round 1 winner Paolo Ruberti was 3rd quickest in the nr9 AutOrlando Porsche 997 GT3 R with a lap of 1:39.512 around the 4.4km Magny Cours circuit 0.042s ahead of Maxime Martin in the nr40 Marc VDS Racing Team BMW Z4.


The nr50 AF Corse Ferrari 458 will head up the Pro-Am Cup with Matt Griffin posting the fastest overall time in the second qualifying session. His time was good enough for 6th overall in the car he shares with South African Jack Gerber. Ludovic Badey was second quickest in class and 7th overall with a 1:39.880, just 0.034s slower than Griffin in the nr20 SOFREV ASP Ferrari 458.


The Gentlemen Trophy was headed by the Ruffier Racing Lamborghini Gallardo of Gregory Guilvert, edging out the nr22 Sport Garage Ferrari 430 with Lionel Comole setting the cars fastest time in Q2. The sole GT3 Cup entry, the nr36 De Lorenzi Racing Porsche was 36th overall with Sergio Negroni setting the fastest time in the opening session.


The GT4 Cup pole went down to the wire with Fredy Barth snatching the top sport in the nr61 Lotus Driving Academy Lotus Evora on the last lap of the final session. Barth edged out Edaordo Piscopo in then nr70 Lotus Sport Italia Evora by 0.545s.


Round 4 of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Magny Cours is due to start at 18:15 (local) with the 3-hour evening race finishing under the lights.

Michael Bartels

nr29 Vita4One Ferrari 458 Italia

“The conditions this morning were not easy, with a wet track, yesterday’s Free Practice was also wet, so luckily we used the opportunity to test here on Thursday evening in the dry. But the track has changed a lot since Thursday, with the grip level now amazingly high. I think a low 39 lap is pretty quick around here for a GT3 car. I don’t have a lot of experience here but I’ve seen pole positions in the 40s for the French GT3. The last session was difficult because of the red flag. I had my programme set for running two sets of new tyres which means you have to be immediately on the green light and you have to find clean laps, which is difficult with 35 cars on the track. After the restart you have to fully focused and I was surprised that I could improve my lap time, which was lucky because Stephane (Ortelli) was really, really close. But I’m really happy, the car performed really well and we’ve found a good balance for the 3-hour race.”

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