After taking a stunning pole position, Boutsen Ginion’s Karim Ojjeh (#2 BMW M6 GT3) scored a fine first Qualifying Race win at Spa-Francorchamps, ahead of AF Corse duo Mario Cordoni (#70 Ferrari 488 GT3) and Patrick Van Glabeke (#488 Ferrari 488 GT3).
The top two were also part of the Titanium Cup, with Jürgen Häring (#66 Herberth Motorsport Porsche 991 GT3 R) completing the podium for the new-for-2018 class.
In the Iron Cup, Klaus Dieter Frers (#3 Artega Rennsport Ferrari 488 GT3) took to a comfortable victory, with Roberto Rayneri (#60 GDL Racing Mercedes SLS AMG GT3) capitalising on other incidents to claim his first class podium of the season.
At the start of the 25-minute race, Mario Cordoni placed his car well to pass Karim Ojjeh out of Turn 1. The Italian held off the championship leader for a few laps, before going wide at Pouhon and allowing the Saudi Arabian driver to get through on the inside.
The Paul Ricard race-winner then pulled a comfortable gap to take the victory and extend his championship lead. Mario Cordoni remained unchallenged as he cruised to his first podium since his Monza win, with Patrick Van Glabeke having a largely uneventful race to finish third.
Jürgen Häring continued his strong form at the legendary Belgian track, holding off the battling pack behind to take home fourth overall. Coach McKansy (#17 HP Racing International) kept his Lamborghini Huracan GT3 marginally ahead of Angélique Detavernier’s (#55 AF Corse) Ferrari 488 GT3, as the pair collected the final points in fifth and sixth.
Iron Cup leader Klaus Dieter Frers made a storming start to take sixth, but midway through the race he fell back to ninth where he went on to finish, with both Christian Hook (#33 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 488 GT3) and Murod Sultanov (#Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3) just missing out on the points in seventh and eighth respectively.
Elsewhere in the class for over 60s, Stephen Earle (#111 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3) and Louis-Philippe Soenen (#50 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3) clashed, with both retiring from the race, allowing Roberto Rayneri to score a season-best second-place finish.
That concludes Saturday’s running of the SRO Speedweek, with the drivers getting some much needed rest ahead of Sunday’s Main Race. You can follow tomorrow’s action via the live timing on the Blancpain GT Sports Club website, with regular updates on Twitter and Facebook.
Overall and Titanium Cup winner, Karim Ojjeh, #2 Boutsen Ginion, said: “The start wasn’t the best, Mario [Cordoni] had a fantastic getaway and overtook me in the first corner. Then we came into Raidillon together and he just had a car length over me, so I decided to back out to avoid an incident. After that it was just a matter of following him and waiting for a mistake, which came on the way into Pouhon and I was able to get up his inside. From there on I just cruised, you could say it was a formality, but I still had to win it and hopefully the car will be good again for tomorrow.”
Iron Cup winner, Klaus Dieter Frers, #3 Artega Rennsport, said: “It was a remarkable race, I got a fantastic start and gained a lot of places. There were some faster cars behind me but I felt I could keep them there. I was battling with Angélique [Detavernier] and we both went a little wide at La Source, which cost me a few places as a group of cars went by. After that I just managed my pace, the car felt good and now I look forward to tomorrow.”