Final qualifying sessions set the grids for the Fanatec GT2 European Series season finale

Final qualifying sessions set the grids for the Fanatec GT2 European Series season finale
  • Filip Sladecka takes the upper hand in Pro-Am title battle with pole for race one
  • Anders Fjordbach sets blistering pace for Brabham in Q2
  • Gilles Vannelet earns double Am class pole honours on series debut

The final Fanatec GT2 European Series qualifying session of the season proved to be a thriller this evening at Circuit Paul Ricard, with KTM and Brabham clinching the outright pole positions ahead of the last two races of the season.

The Am class, meanwhile, sees a new name at the top of the timesheets, with Gilles Vannelet taking pole position across both sessions on his series debut in the Reiter Engineering KTM X-BOW.

Sladecka takes first advantage in Q1

With the battle for the Pro-Am title still wide open between the #11 PK Carsport and #15 True Racing by Reiter Engineering crews, every point scored will prove crucial this weekend. 

Sladecka got his and team-mate’s Stefan Rosina’s final campaign off to a strong start by earning an all-important extra point for race one pole, thanks to a time just 0.3s ahead of title rivals, Nicolas Saelens and Stienes Longin.

Saelens had taken the early initiative in the 20-minute session, initially trading top times with Peter Guelinckx in the sister PK Carsport Audi, before the KTM X-BOWs of Vannelet and Kris Rosenberger joined the party.

As Vannelet continued to improve to head not just the Am but outright fastest times, Saelens managed to find a reply to take over the top stop by 0.12s with four minutes remaining. But Sladecka saved the best for last, managing to find another 0.3s over Saelens to claim pole position for race on Saturday morning.

Holding on to finish an impressive third fastest, Vannelet will start on the second row alongside 2022 Am Champion Henry Hassid, with Guelinckx settling for fifth and Rosenberger sixth.

Leonardo Gorini, Klaus Angerhofer, Kevin Weeda and Gianluca Giorgi then completed the top 10.

Fjordbach unbeatable in Q2

The second qualifying session of the evening once again saw the Pro-Am title contending teams go head-to-head, this time with Stienes Longin in charge of the #11 PK Carsport Audi and Rosina in the #15 KTM. But, in the end, neither would claim the extra point for pole.

Although Rosina featured strongly in the early stages, Fjordbach wasted no time in taking charge of the final qualifying stint of the season to take provisional pole by over a second.

Rosina’s reply was good enough to come within 0.8s of the Brabham’s top time, only for Fjordbach to increase his advantage just past the halfway mark. 

With the pole time seemingly unreachable, the fight was on for the second spot on the front row for race two on Sunday. Rosina and Longin duly went to battle, each improving to demote the other before Longin snatched second by 0.047s with two minutes to go.

Rosina held on to third ahead of the #81 Audi of Bert Longin and the High Class Racing Audi of Michael Vergers, who ran as high as third.

Vannelet delivered another impressive qualifying performance to net a second Am class pole, sixth fastest overall, ahead of LP Racing Team Principal Luca Pirri. Alessandro Baccani claimed eighth in the Ebimotors Porsche, whilst Leonardo Gorini and Sehdi Sarmini rounded out the top ten.

The 2022 Fanatec GT2 European Series championship title will be decided across two 50-minute races at 09:30 and 18:00 tomorrow, Saturday 15 October. Watch all the action live via GT World on YouTube.