Published on July 25th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Five BMWs in action in the battle for Superpole at Spa
The BMW Sports Trophy teams finished in promising positions in the qualifying sessions and the concluding Superpole competition for the 24-hour race in Spa-Francorchamps (BE). Nick Catsburg (NL) of BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS in the number 46 BMW Z4 GT3 was the fastest BMW driver in the deciding top 20 qualifying session on Friday. In temperatures of 23 degrees Celsius with light cloud, he put in a time of 2:18.451 minutes on the legendary ‘Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps’. This sees Catsburg and his team-mates Lucas Luhr (DE) and Markus Palttala (FI) start from 8th place in the 67th running of the endurance classic on Saturday. Pole position went to Audi driver Frank Stippler (DE), who took 2:18.130 minutes to complete the fastest of his two flying laps. Catsburg missed pole position by only 0.321 seconds.
In addition to the trio in the number 46 car, the other BMW drivers also passed the first challenge of the weekend. The second car in action for BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS with Maxime Martin (BE), Augusto Farfus (BR) and Dirk Werner (DE) will start the race on the 7.004-kilometre track from 12th on the grid. Alessandro Zanardi (IT), Timo Glock (DE) and Bruno Spengler (CA) in the number 9 BMW Z4 GT3 from ROAL Motorsport qualified in 13th. Ecurie Ecosse and TDS Racing secured their spots in the Superpole competition with outstanding performances in the night qualifying session: The number 12 BMW Z4 GT3 of TDS Racing, whose shares the cockpit with Eric Dermont (FR), Henry Hassid (FR), Franck Perera (FR) and Mathias Beche (FR) qualified in 17th. Alasdair McCaig (GB), Devon Modell (GB), Oliver Bryant (GB) and Alexander Sims (GB) from the Ecurie Ecosse will contest the marathon in the Belgian Ardennes from 20th on the grid.
Slightly further down the field in the number 78 BMW Z4 GT3 from Team Russia by Barwell are Leonid Machitski (RU), Jon Minshaw (GB), Jonathan Cocker (GB) and Phil Keen (GB), who couldn’t improve on 31st place in qualifying. Joe Osborne (GB), Ryan Ratcliffe (GB), Lee Mowle (GB) and Dirk Müller (DE) from Team Triple Eight Racing will line up 39th on the grid. Sergio Jiménez (BR), Felipe Fraga (BR) and Cacá Bueno (BR) from BMW Sports Trophy Team Brasil claimed the 42nd spot on the grid. However, the history of the 24 Hours of Spa shows that even cars that start from the middle of the field can end up in the top spots.
The Team Boutsen Ginion number 15 BMW Z4 GT3, in which Karim Ojjeh (SA), Olivier Grotz (LU), Jordan Grogor (AE) and Ralf Oeverhaus (DE) will take turns at the wheel, finished 47th in the qualifying sessions for the 24-hour race. The number 30 BMW Z4 GT3 from Classic & Modern Racing, with Jean-Luc Blanchemain (FR), Pierre Hirschi (CH), Christian Kelders (BE) and Frederic Bouvy (BE), will line up in 54th on the starting grid. Right behind them are ‘Marc VDS & Friends Racing Against Cancer’: Pascal Witmeur, Jean-Michel Martin, Marc Duez and Eric van de Poele is a quartet of Belgian drivers who have celebrated great success with BMW in the past in this race. They are taking part in four 24 minute stints on behalf of the Belgian cancer aid foundation.