On his first Blancpain GT Sports Club race since Spa-Francorchamps last year, Rinaldi Racing’s Christian Hook put his #33 Ferrari 488 GT3 on pole position for both races at the Misano World Circuit, with a pair of blistering lap times.
It also marked the Titanium Cup runner’s first pole position in the series, with Kessel Racing’s Rick Peter Lovat and AF Corse’s in-form Louis-Philippe Soenen sharing the spoils in the Iron Cup class.
In Qualifying 1, Reno Racing’s Jens Reno Moller was quickest for much of the session prior to the red flag caused by Howard Blank’s stricken Ferrari 488 GT3 with six minutes left to run. Once the session resumed the times continued to improve, as Hook shot to the top of the timings, where he would remain until the chequered flag.
Behind, ERC Sport’s Lee Mowle snuck into second place on board the #44 Mercedes AMG GT3, with AF Corse’s Mario Cordoni also taking his #51 Ferrari ahead of Moller in third. The Dane was unable to improve on his earlier pace and ended the session in fourth.
Paul Ricard race two winner Murad Sultanov went fifth fastest in his #23 Kessel Racing Ferrari, with HP Racing International’s Coach McKansy closing to within 0.01 seconds of the Russian.
That put the #17 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 2019 into sixth place, ahead of lead Iron Cup runner Rick Peter Lovat. The #12 Kessel Racing Ferrari driver was a career-best seventh overall and is in a strong position to close the points gap to Stephen Earle in the standings.
Next came HB Racing’s Dilantha Malagamuwa, who has continued to improve his pace on board the #24 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 throughout the practice sessions, and will look to trouble the Titanium Cup podium starting directly behind McKansy.
StileF Squadra Corse driver Pavel Strukov had a difficult session in the #777 Ferrari and could only just improve on his practice times from earlier, pointing at more pace to come from the Russian.
Rounding off the runners was the rest of the Iron Cup contenders, with Kessel Racing’s Earle heading AF Corse pairing Louis-Philippe Soenen and Blank.
In Qualifying 2, Sultanov set the early pace, but it wasn’t long before Hook jumped back to the top of the timings again. The German went four tenths quicker than he had in Q1, with Moller having to settle for second after his flying lap.
The Dane remained relatively unchallenged for much of the session, and even a late fast lap from Mowle couldn’t stop the championship leader from retaining his front-row position. The British GT convert also had to watch from behind, as Cordoni improved to fourth in the closing stages.
Sultanov eventually ended the session in fifth place, albeit well within reach of the top four who had been over a second clear of him in the first part of qualifying.
McKansy was sixth fastest in his 2019-spec Lamborghini, ahead of Malagamuwa, who will start one place closer to his German counterpart in tomorrow’s race.
In eighth place was Strukov, who enjoyed a much better session, with Soenen leading the Iron Cup runners on board the #50 Ferrari. The Belgian was ninth overall and ahead of Earle’s #111 Ferrari, who also improved on a tough Q1 outing.
Lovat couldn’t repeat his pace from the first part of qualifying and will start 11th, with Blank rounding out the runners in 12th on board the #56 Ferrari.
With qualifying completed, the drivers will next hit the Misano track for race one at 18:05, which is live streamed on our Facebook page, website and GTWorld YouTube channel.