Fuoco wrests back Spa WEC pole for Ferrari

Ferrari AF Corse’s No. 50 499P will start tomorrow’s 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps from pole position after Antonio Fuoco set a time half a second quicker than anyone else in Hypercar Hyperpole this afternoon.

The Italian’s best time on the fabled Belgian circuit was a 2m02.600s. The time was so quick he parked up in pit lane with more than two minutes remaining in the session, confident nobody could match him. He was right.

“It was a really good qualifying. We made a big difference today with the tires with a different approach that worked really well,” said Fuoco after earning his second straight WEC pole.


Matt Campbell came closest in the No. 5 Porsche Penske Motorsport 963, securing a spot on the front row with a 2m03.107s. The Australian’s time was less than a tenth up on Alex Lynn, who pushed hard and delivered the third fastest time in the lone Cadillac V-Series.R.

Proton Competition also showed a flash of pace in the session. Julien Andlauer ended up fourth in the No. 99 Porsche, ahead of the No. 12 JOTA example which added to the strong showing for the 963.

“It’s been an amazing start to the week. We have more potential here, the car feels good. To be in Hyperpole is great, to be in the top five and close to Penske is even better,” Andlauer said.

The remaining places in the top 10 were filled by the No. 6 Porsche, No. 8 Toyota, No. 35 Alpine, No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari and No. 20 BMW.

Outside the top 10, the No. 51 Ferrari AF Corse 499P was the fastest car that didn’t make the cut. While Antonio Fuoco went fastest of anyone in the No. 50 sister car during qualifying with a 2m02.462s before going on to set the pole time, James Calado ended up 11th with a 2m03.002s.

The No. 7 Toyota, which won last time out in Imola, also didn’t make it through, it will start 15th with a best time of 2m03.738s.

In fact, the only factory team to get both of its cars in the shootout was Porsche Penske Motorsport. It could have been a very different story for its two 963s, though, as Kevin Estre and Matt Campbell nearly came together at Les Combes on their out-lap, the Frenchman coming inches from rear-ending the No. 5 under braking.

The No. 38 Hertz Team JOTA Porsche managed to make it out for the first session following Oliver Rasmussen’s off in Free Practice 3. It will start 18th behind the Lamborghini SC63 and both Peugeots — neither 2024 9X8 made it into the top 10.

The headline in LMGT3 came early in Hyperpole, when the championship-leading Pure Rxcing Porsche brought out red flags for a huge incident at Raidillon. Alex Malykhin, pushing to earn his second pole position of the season, lost the rear-end on entry, sending him backward into the tire barriers on driver’s right at full speed.

Thankfully Malykhin was confirmed as OK by Manthey via a radio message played on the TV broadcast, after being taken to the medical center for checks on a stretcher. The impact was hard and severely damaged the car.

Pure Rxcing subsequently told RACER Malykhin is “bruised” but has been cleared to race by doctors. The car is damaged beyond repair so the team is having a replacement chassis delivered. It is currently en route. The team says it has enough parts on hand to build up a new car for the race.

Once the session resumed, Sarah Bovy went on to take pole for her home race with a 2m20.755s lap in the No. 85 Iron Dames Lamborghini. This marked the team’s first pole of the season.

“The feeling was great in the car,” Bovy said. “I saw such a big crowd in the tribune (grandstand). It was great. I’m super proud of the Iron Dames today — first pole for Lamborghini in the WEC!”

Sarah Bovy celebrates pole for Iron Dames and Lamborghini at Spa. Jakob Ebrey/Motorsport Images

The No. 95 United Autosports McLaren will start alongside the Iron Dames Huracan on the front row. Josh Caygill’s 2m21.092s to go second fastest provides further evidence that United is making real progress with the McLaren GT3 EVO.

“It’s really nice to get a result for the boys, everyone’s working so hard at United and McLaren so it’s good to repay them,” Caygill said.

The second row will be occupied by the No. 46 WRT BMW and No. 91 Manthey EMA Porsche. James Cottingham in the No. 59 United McLaren ensured both of the United’s cars will start from a strong position by qualifying fifth.

In qualifying for the LMGT3 teams ahead of Hyperpole, both Proton Mustangs came achingly close to making the shootout. Giorgio Roda and Ryan Hardwick came within two-tenths of Arnold Robin’s time which put Lexus into the top 10 for the first time this season.

The positive boost for AKKODIS ASP was only brief, though, as Robin was unable to set a time in Hyperpole and will start ninth. His No. 78 RC F LMGT3 failed to fire up after the red flag and was pushed back into its garage.

The biggest surprise was the performance from Darren Leung in the No. 31 WRT BMW, which is carrying success ballast for winning at Imola. He will start the race 13th.

The 6 Hours of Spa Francorchamps is set to start at 1pm local time on Saturday.


Story originally appeared on Racer