Maximilian Buhk (DEU) and Dominik Baumann (AUT) in the No.1 Heico Gravity-Charouz Mercedes continued their dominance of the fourth round of the FIA GT3 European Championship by claiming pole position for both races at Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal.
The No.1 Mercedes has been the class of the field in Portugal with the fastest times in both of yesterday’s Free Practice sessions.
Buhk and Baumann, the championship leaders, will be overwhelming favourites for this afternoon’s Race One.
“This is a great result and it works in our favour for the Championship standings,” Buhk said.
“I admit though it wasn’t my best lap, I made a few small mistakes but thankfully I managed to take pole. Our aim now is to gain more points and maintain a strong championship position.”
Buhk led the charge by securing pole position for Race One with a best lap time of 1:45.688 in Q1. Baumann followed his example by posting a pole lap of 1:45.579 in Q2.
The second Heico Gravity-Charouz car of Max Nilsson (SWE) and Mika Vahamaki (FIN) ensured a Mercedes lock-out for the Race One later today and Race Two tomorrow by ending both Qualifying sessions second fastest. Nilsson recorded a 1:46.069 while Vahamaki went ever quicker with a 1:45.866 to secure second place for Race 2.
“I’m very happy about this result and I’m looking forward to fighting with my our sister car which is on pole,” Nilsson said.
“The Mercedes is feeling really good, especially on this track because it’s a fast circuit and it performs well in these conditions.”
David Mengesdorf, who was third in Q1 in the Rhino’s Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini No.11, hopes to break the Mercedes dominance in the race.
“The result we’ve achieved is excellent, considering I’m not that confident around here yet as I don’t know the track completely,” the German.
“The Lamborghini is performing very well round here, I’m almost certain we will gain some good points here this weekend.”
Gregory Guilvert (FRA) claimed third behind the Mercedes duo in Q2 in the Sainteloc Audi R8 LMS No.16.
Guilvert and co-driver Marc Sourd are flying solo for the French Sainteloc Racing team this weekend. “Unfortunately we lost one car last weekend in the Blancpain Endurance Series so we’ve only got one car running which makes this position valuable to us,” Guilvert said.
“I think the Audi has the power to win here but the Mercedes’ are very strong, but who knows, everything is possible.”