Nelson Panciatici snatched pole position for the European Le Mans Series race at Spielberg in the last seconds of qualifying on Saturday morning.
The Signatech Alpine driver had been on the fringes of the pole position fight before his final lap, with Jota Sport’s Oliver Turvey and Murphy Prototypes racer Brendon Hartley in the thick of the action in the closing minutes. But as those two were fighting it out, Panciatici was gradually building up his speed. He twice split the pair as all three kept improving, and then on his final lap he did enough to edge ahead of Turvey to take pole.
Panciatici’s pole lap came when there appeared to be yellow flags out for a car that was in the gravel at Turn 6, which could explain why his rivals didn’t improve on their final laps.
Championship leader Pierre Thiriet will start from row two, as Mathias Beche put the Thiriet by TDS Racing Oreca-Nissan fourth fastest in a session that was very close at the front.
Further back, GTE honors went to the Proton Competition Porsche of Nick Tandy.
The Briton waited until the closing stages to come to prominence in the GT session, where he got the better of the Ferraris of Andrea Bertolini (JMW) and Ram Racing entries led by Johnny Mowlem and Gunnar Jeannette.
Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time Gap 1. P2 Ragues/Panciatici Signatech Alpine-Nissan 1m23.737s 2. P2 Dolan/Turvey Jota Zytek-Nissan 1m23.871s +0.134s 3. P2 Hartley/Patterson Murphy ORECA-Nissan 1m24.010s +0.273s 4. P2 Thiriet/Beche TDS ORECA-Nissan 1m24.054s +0.317s 5. P2 Gachnang/Mailleux Morand Morgan-Judd 1m24.318s +0.581s 6. P2 Frey/Niederhauser Race Peformance ORECA-Judd 1m24.407s +0.670s 7. P2 Kraihamer/Holzer Boutsen ORECA-Nissan 1m24.794s +1.057s 8. P2 Mediani/Zlobin SMP Ferrrari 1m25.083s +1.346s 9. PC Loan/Verdonck Endurance FLM 1m27.631s +3.894s10. PC Chatin/Hirsch Endurance FLM 1m27.942s +4.205s11. PC Jones/Catsburg Endurance FLM 1m28.234s +4.497s12. PC Pons/Ayari Endurance FLM 1m28.770s +5.033s13. GTE Ried/Roda/Tandy Proton Porsche 1m29.391s +5.654s14. GTE Bertolini/Camathias JMW Ferrari 1m29.513s +5.776s15. GTE Mowlem/Griffin Ram Ferrari 1m29.629s +5.892s16. GTE Jeannette/Montecalvo Ram Ferrari 1m29.780s +6.043s17. GTE Milesi/Vernay IMSA Porsche 1m29.800s +6.063s18. GTE Perrodo/Collard Prospeed Porsche 1m30.068s +6.331s19. GTE Perazzini/Cioci/Leo AF Ferrari 1m30.187s +6.450s20. GTC Markozov/Persiani/Frolov SMP Ferrari 1m30.705s +6.968s21. GTC Babini/Shaitar/Ladygin SMP Ferrari 1m30.741s +7.004s22. GTC Rizzoli/Gai/Case AF Ferrari 1m30.836s +7.099s23. GTE Mallegol/Bachelier/Blank AF Ferrari 1m30.865s +7.128s24. GTC Kox/Pronk Kox Lamborghini 1m31.127s +7.390s25. GTE Felbermayr/Felbermayr/Bachler Proton Porsche 1m31.466s +7.729s26. GTC Millroy/Smith/Twyman Ecosse BMW 1m31.765s +8.028s