#88 AKKA ASP Mercedes Takes Pole for 73rd Running of the TotalEnergies 24H of Spa

A Superpole session that saw nearly more laps deleted than actual laps set ended with the #88 Mercedes of Dani Juncadella, Rafaelle Marciello, and Jules Gounon on top. They continued their blistering pace from qualifying where they beat the #95 Aston Martin by almost 4 tenths on average lap time.

Written by Eline Luna

July 30, 2021

Qualifying started on Thursday evening, just before sunset. Q1, where only the cars with four drivers competed, ran smoothly without any incidents. Q2, however, was heavily interrupted with two red flags. The session was stopped for the first time with around 8 minutes left on the clock. Silver Cup driver Tim Zimmermann crashed his Lamborghini at Radillion, which resulted in a stoppage of over thirty minutes.  Once the sun had already set, the session restarted but saw another red flag caused by the #31 WRT with Ryuichiro Tomita at the wheel. He spun at Radillion with just over two minutes left. Race Control decided not to continue the session. This meant drama for the #32 WRT Audi driven by Charles Weerts, Kelvin van der Linde & Dries Vanthoor. The team had led both Free Practice and Pre-Qualifying but weren’t able to set a time in Q2. This resulted in the #32 car qualifying in P55, which was the slowest among the Pro cars. 

With all drivers in the 2:18’s across the sessions and an average time of 2:18.433, the #88 Mercedes took provisional pole by a margin. The top 5 saw four different brands with the #95 Aston Martin in P2, the #66 Audi in P3, the #4 Mercedes in P4, and the #34 BMW in P5. The top 20 in qualifying moved to Super pole on Friday evening.

The #188 Garage 59 Aston Martin was the quickest among the Pro-Am cars with P32 overall. The #166 Haegeli by T2 Racing Porsche took pole in the Am class with P52 overall. 

Combined Qualifying Results:

Combined Qualifying Results can also be found here.

Every car that advanced to Superpole had one designated driver that had two flying laps to set their best time. The cars ran in reverse order with 1-minute intervals meaning the #88 Mercedes with Raffaele Marciello at the wheel was last out on track. His first lap was a 2:17.949, enough to snatch away pole from the #63 Lamborghini that qualified in P2. His second lap, a 2:18.185, would also have been enough to take pole but was deleted due to track limits. The #95 Aston Martin of Nicki Thiim qualified in P3 but was bumped down to P8 because they left the pits just a little too late. This meant P3 went to the #4 HRT Mercedes of Maro Engel.

In the Silver Cup, the #14 Emily Frey Racing Lamborghini took pole with Ricardo Feller at the wheel. Overall he qualified P5 overall with the next Silver Cup car, the #12 CMR Bentley in P12.

The Superpole session looked set to be interrupted by rainfall, as footage showed raindrops on the cameras and a very dark sky. However, this rain held off for the rest of the session.

Superpole Results:

Superpole Results can also be found here.

Spa Spotter’s Guide:

 

Here’s a spotters guide (in case you can’t see it above) made by us, which will make following your favorite cars just a bit easier.

The race is free to watch from the GT World YouTube channel and will commence at 16:30 Local Time (GMT+2).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eline follows a variety of motorsports from Formula E to IMSA to Nascar to WEC. They hope to study Mechanical Engineering to work in motorsports one day.

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