The new Bentley Continental GT3 has qualified on the second row for its race debut in the Gulf 12 Hours in Abu Dhabi.
Bentley drivers Steven Kane, Guy Smith and Andy Meyrick set an aggregate lap time of 2m11.881s over three 20-minutes qualifying sessions around the Yas Marina circuit in the car developed and run by M-Sport.
That put the Continental half a second behind the pole-winning Black Falcon Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG shared by Bernd Schneider, Jeroen Bleekemolen and local driver Khaled Al Qubaisi.
Bentley motorsport director Brian Gush said: “Fourth is good, we are happy with the performance of the team and the car. This is a development race for us; it is all part of a data-gathering process for next year.”
The Bentley was vying for pole position after Kane and Smith ended up second and fifth respectively in the first two session, before Meyrick was hampered by traffic in the third.
Second place on the grid went to the Kessel Ferrari 458 Italia shared by Daniel Zampieri, Michael Broniszewski and Cesar Ramos, while third went to the Slamstop Motorsport Ferrari driven by Matteo Bobbi, Alexander Skryabin and Alessandro Pierguidi.
Fastest in qualifying was the Kessel Ferrari qualified by Giacomo Piccini and Thomas Kemenater, but the car has been demoted on the grid after receiving a penalty for only running two drivers.
Friday’s Gulf 12 Hours, the third running of the event, is made up of two six-hour races separated by two hours and 25 minutes.