Manuel Gião/Elias Niskanen, driving the Mercedes AMG GT4 of the Slovenian Lema Racing team, secured pole position on Friday afternoon for the fifth round of the Iberian Supercars Endurance at the Spanish circuit of Barcelona, in a race that will be quite different from the previous ones. This weekend's race will last 2 hours together with the 24 Hours of Barcelona grid, which will start at 13:00 on Saturday.
The grid was determined by the average fastest lap over two qualifying sessions, a system that left Gião and Niskanen's Mercedes AMG GT4 clearly ahead of the McLaren 570S GT4s of Fernando Navarrete and Gonzalo de Andrés and Guillermo Aso and Tomás Pinto, both of the Spanish SMC Motorsport team. However, the latter was penalised in Q2 for exceeding track limits and Gulf-sponsored 570S GT4 was relegated to second to last on the grid. Nothing surprising so far, except for the modest performance of Araújo Competição's McLaren 570S GT4, driven by Miguel Cristóvão and Francisco Carvalho, but due to alternator problems that appeared at the beginning of free practice, thus explaining the sixth place in qualifying.
In a race with a different format, given its duration (two-hour long), drivers and teams will make two compulsory pit stops. There is the prospect of a lively duel for the win in the three classes.
Running solo, Lithuanian Andrius Zemaitis, in the ProGT-run Porsche Cayman GT4, gave good indications by achieving the third best average, leaving the José Carvalhosa/Quique Bordás duo, in the Garagem João Gomes-run Porsche Cayman GT4 more than a second behind, although the Spanish youngster had a time below the "second 59".
Portugal's Álvaro Ramos and The Netherlands' Fred Block, in the Araújo Competição McLaren 570S Trophy, showed a pace that makes them favourites to win the GTC class, where the Tom Seldon/Juan Carlos Arias duo, in the series debutant JOTA Motorsport Ginetta G50, did not set a time in the first session due to a technical problem in their transponder.
1, Manuel Gião/Elias Niskanen (Lema Racing/Mercedes AMG GT4/GT4 Pro), 1.57.769
2, Fernando Navarrete/Gonzalo de Andrés (SMC Motorsport/McLaren 570S GT4/GT4 Pro), 1.59.065
3, Andrius Zemaitis (PROGT/Porsche Cayman GT4/GT4 Bronze), 2.00.137
4, José Carvalhosa/Quique Bordás (Garagem João Gomes/Porsche Cayman GT4/GT4 Pro), 2.01.828
5, Álvaro Ramos/Fred Block (Araújo Competição/McLaren 570s GT4 Trophy/GTC), 2.03.798
6, Miguel Cristóvão/Francisco Carvalho (Araújo Competição/McLaren 570S GT4/GT4 Bronze), 2.06.208
7, Guillermo Aso/Tomás Pintos (SMC Motorsport/McLaren 570S GT4/GT4 Pro), 1.59.667
8, Juan Carlos Arias/Tom Seldon (JOTA Motorsport/Ginetta G50/GTC), 2.07.625
* only scored a time in one session