Loeb and Parente win qualifying race

Loeb and Parente win qualifying race


Loeb and Parente win qualifying race


Sebastien Loeb and Alvaro Parente took victory in a frantic FIA GT Series qualifying race at Navarra.

Parente started their McLaren in fourth position, but managed to lead by the first corner after another trademark fast start. In the damp conditions, most teams opted for wet weather tires, with the exception of the polesitting Reiter Lamborghini of Marc Basseng.

The gamble on slicks failed catastrophically, as the German slipped back to last place by the time the field reached Turn 5. Parente built up a comfortable advantage, and handed over to Loeb at the pitstops, allowing the pair to cruise home for their third qualifying race victory in five events.

The battle for second place was key for the championship. Frank Stippler and Edward Sandstrom took the position after making the right tire call at the pit stops.

Having been wheel to wheel with points-leading WRT Audi teammates Stephane Ortelli and Laurens Vanthoor during the first stint, Stippler left the pits again on wet tires, while Ortelli made the decision to switch to slicks.

In cool, cloudy conditions the circuit stubbornly refused to dry, and Ortelli dropped back to seventh position.

Driver of the race was Gerhard Tweraser. The Austrian is making his FIA GT debut alongside Pro-Am front-runner Hari Proczyk in the GRT Lamborghini, and took over in the second stint to climb from eighth to third overall, winning the Pro-Am class on the way.

Tweraser was regularly the quickest man on track, as he closed Proczyk’s deficit to points leaders Sergei Afanasiev and Andreas Simonsen’s HTP Mercedes to just six points. The HTP squad finished behind in fourth place.

From 18th on the grid, Mike Parisy and Andreas Zuber climbed to fifth place in their Sebastien Loeb Racing McLaren, while the Cesar Campanico/Michael Ammermuller Novadriver Audi finished in sixth place ahead of the slick-shod Orteli.

Claudio Sdanewitsch and Michele Rugolo won the Gentleman Trophy with an eighth place overall, with Rugolo running as high as third in the opening stages.

Patrick Cunha and Mattheus Stumpf finished ninth in their Rodrive Lamborghini, while Allam Khodair forced his way past Karun Chandhok in the closing laps, to take the final top 10 position for the BMW Team Brazil squad, as Karun Chandhok then slipped back to 12th in his Vita4One BMW.