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Bortolotti storms to pole position in Blancpain GT qualifying

Saturday, May 06 2017

Mirko Bortolotti took pole position in qualifying for this weekend's rounds of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup at Brands Hatch after a dominant performance in the GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan.

In the opening session Andy Soucek set a fine lap time in the Bentley to head the order from Markus Winkelhock, WRT Audi R8 and Andrew Watson's McLaren 650S. However, Loris Hezemans dropped one of the other Strakka McLaren 650S cars at Stirlings and the resulting damage brought the session to a halt.

With just under four minutes remaining, not many drivers ventured out at the restart and there were no changes at the top of the order.

Blancpain GT Series Qualifying One
1, Andy Soucek, Bentley, Bentley Continental GT, 1:24.548s
2, Markus Winkelhock, Team WRT, Audi R8, +0.207s
3, Andrew Watson, Strakka, McLaren 650S, +0.227s
4, Felix Serralles, Akka ASP, Mercedes-AMG GT, +0.408s
5, Pieter Schothorst, Team WRT, Audi R8, +0.408s

Last year's race-winner Christopher Mies moved to the top of the times in the second, aggregated session in his R8, but was bumped into second by Daniel Juncadella's Mercedes. Next to top the order was Bortolotti's Lamborghini Huracan, and once this was set the timing screens settled down, and the order for the pole position session was set.

Blancpain GT Series Qualifying Two
1, Mirko Bortolotti, GRT, Lamborghini Huracan, 1:23.730s
2, Daniel Juncadella, Akka ASP, Mercedes-AMG GT, +0.010s
3, Christopher Mies, Team WRT, Audi R8, +0.127s
4, Jesse Krohn, Rowe, BMW M6, +0.148s
5, Robin Frijns, Team WRT, Audi R8, +0.172s

Mies set the bar with a solid opening lap in the final session to determine pole position, but Bortolotti went a stunning nine tenths quicker in the GRT Lamborghini. Mies was then pushed down the order by several cars, including Jesse Krohn in the BMW and Norbert Siedler's Lamborghini.

With little time to react in the short, ten-minute session, Bortolotti pitted, satisfied with his work. Mies recovered to second place, albeit exactly half a second off the leading Lamborghini's pace. As the seconds ticked away, however, Franck Perera was on a hot lap, but faltered in the final sector, failing to improve.

This left Bortolotti and Mies on the front row of the grid for tomorrow's qualifying race, with Krohn and Siedler on the second row.

Blancpain GT Series Qualifying Three
1, Mirko Bortolotti, GRT, Lamborghini Huracan, 1:22.891s
2, Christopher Mies, Team WRT, Audi R8, +0.500s
3, Jesse Krohn, Rowe, BMW M6, +0.564s
4, Norbert Siedler, GRT, Lamborghini Huracan, +0.641s
5, Christopher Haase, Sainteloc Racing, Audi R8, +0.646s
6, Daniel Juncadell, Akka ASP, Mercedes-AMG GT, +0.651s
7, Marco Mapelli, Attempto, Lamborghini Huracan, +0.653s
8, Robin Frijns, Team WRT, Audi R8, +0.658s
9, Alvaro Parente, Strakka, McLaren 650S, +0.739s
10, Franck Perera, HTP, Mercedes-AMG GT, +0.757s

An ecstatic Bortolotti said: "I'm really happy, we managed to get on track on a really clear spot, which is rare to have and can make the difference and it really worked today. I took every inch of track I could take and I'm really proud of it."

Raceday tickets for the Blancpain GT Series at Brands Hatch are available on the gate for £28, with free entry for under-13s. For more information, please call 0843 453 9000 or click  here.