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Lamborghini, Audi and Mercedes share first pole honours

21 April 2023
  • Donovan Privitelio makes it a memorial Fanatec GT2 European Series debut for Iron Lynx Lamborghini
  • Stienes Longin and Peter Guelinckx return PK Carsport Audi to the top with double Pro-Am poles
  • Historic first Am class pole position for the Mercedes-AMG GT2

The first Fanatec GT2 European Series qualifying sessions of the season produced two thrilling battles for pole position honours at Monza this afternoon, giving a strong indication of the close racing to come in the championship’s third year of competition.

Among the many teams and drivers making their series debut in Italy, countryman Donovan Privitelio got Iron Lynx’s maiden outing off to the best possible start in Q1 to claim the outright and Am pole position in the #8 Lamborghini.

Peter Guelinckx then put PK Carsport back in pole position, topping the Am times in Q1 before Stienes Longin perfectly timed his charge for outright honours amid a thrilling battle between the Pro drivers in Q2. The Mercedes-AMG GT2, meanwhile, set its mark on international debut with Jens Liebhauser claiming the Am class pole. 

Privitelio tops Q1 on Monza debut

The opening 20-minute qualifying session of the year began with a trio of KTMs, a Mercedes and two Porsches all jostling for position at the top of the timing screens. Approaching the halfway mark, Privitelio made his move with just enough to demote Klaus Angerhofer in the #16 KTM.

With Angerhofer threatening to find an answer, Privitelio had to dig deeper to pull out another flying lap of 1:48.843, to finally build a buffer that could not be beaten. While Angerhofer held strong in second, Guelinckx timed his final run to climb up to P3 and secure the race one Pro-Am pole in the closing stages. 

It was a two-way Porsche fight for fourth, with Manthey Racing’s Christoph Breuer delivering an impressive first qualifying stint to secure fourth fastest by just one hundredth of a second from Leonardo Gorini’s Ebimotors’ machine. 

Reigning Am champion, LP Racing’s Henry Hassid started his first Pro-Am campaign with second fastest in class, sixth overall, ahead of Nicolas Saelen’s True Racing and Jan Krabec’s RTR Projects’ KTMs. Stephane Ratel (LP Racing Audi) and Aurelijus Rusteika (Ebimotors Porsche) completed the top ten.

PK Carsport back on top, while Fanatec by HRT & Mercedes make history

Stienes Longin quickly got back to his pole-winning ways in Q2 with a perfectly timed run to head the field with just seven minutes remaining before the sole red flag of the session.

Liebhauser had seized the early advantage in the new Mercedes-AMG GT2, until Pierre Kaffer took over the top spot. That triggered an epic battle between the pro drivers, not least between the LP Racing sister Audis of Mattia di Giusto and Anthony Beltoise, while Reinhard Kofler also looked to join the fun.

Longin left it relatively late to join the party, initially slotting into P2 before demoting Kaffer by just 0.049s. A brief excursion into the gravel for the Mercedes with six minutes remaining prevented the #18 Audi from posting a reply.
With just 0.191 covering the top three pros, di Giusto secured third fastest ahead of Kofler and Beltoise, while Stefan Rosina completed the top six for the #15 KTM.

Despite the excursion at turn 11, Liebhauser did a great job to secure the first ever Am class pole position and seventh overall for the Fanatec by HRT Mercedes. 

Angerhofer kept it consistent to secure a fourth row start for Sunday’s 50 minute race, while the pair of Ebimotors’ Porsches – driven by Mantas Janavicius (#5) and Gorini – finished ninth and 10 respectively.

Racing gets underway tomorrow (Saturday) with the first 50-minute GT2 race taking place at 12:40, followed by race two at 10:35 on Sunday. Both races will be streamed live on the series website and via GTWorld on YouTube.