There was double delight in qualifying for Denis Remenyako, who claimed pole position for both of this weekend’s Blancpain GT Sports Club races at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
After taking his first career pole in Saturday’s opening session, Remenyako snatched the top spot in session two with a dramatic improvement in the closing seconds.
In Qualifying 1, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 driver was one of the early pace-setters. After initial lead efforts from James Sofronas (Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT2) and Luigi Lucchini (BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 458 GT3), Remenyako shot to the top of the leaderboard by 0.069 seconds.
As the session moved along, the Russian driver improved on his initial benchmark to end up with a final time of 1m 48.160, which was good enough for pole.
Fellow 2019 Blancpain GT Sports Club race winner Lucchini initially looked set to take the second starting position on the front row of the grid, but the Italian was beaten by a late Jens Reno Moller lap time.
Moller, driving the Reno Racing Honda NSX GT3 Evo, booked a grid slot next to Remenyako with a 1m 48.374, which put the Danish ace just two-tenths off pole.
Lucchini settled for third, ahead of Murod Sultanov (Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3) and Angelique Detavernier in her first qualifying run with HB Racing’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
Titanium Cup pole-sitter Coach McKansy will start today’s race from sixth, ahead of Sofronas in the GT2 Audi and Frederic Fangio in one of the two AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3s competing this weekend.
StileF Squadra Corse’s Pavel Strukov qualified ninth, while Stephen Earle won an entertaining three-way Ferrari battle for Saturday’s Iron Cup pole against Louis-Philippe Soenen and Rick Lovat.
They were closely followed by Dilantha Malagamuwa (HB Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3) and Pierre Feligioli (Boutsen Ginion Lamborghini Gallardo GT3).
In Qualifying 2, Remenyako needed to piece together a perfect last lap to confirm himself on pole for Sunday’s season-closer.
Until the final 10 seconds, the session had been commanded by McKansy, who started last year’s Barcelona race two from pole, but Remenyako’s last-ditch 1m 47.582s flyer put the Mercedes-AMG driver ahead of the Lamborghini racer by a scant 0.174s margin.
The session offered an extremely close battle for the overall pole, with the top five drivers separated by less than half a second.
Lucchini backed up his Q1 result to lap third-fastest again, a fraction ahead of Sultanov and Moller, while Sofronas qualified the Audi GT2 in sixth, doing well to resist the late improvements of Detavernier.
After Earle clinched Iron Cup pole for race one, Lovat took the class lead for race two with the Kessel Racing teammates running 1-2 in the session.
Denis Remenyako (#13 Capital Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT3)
“In Q1, the difference to second place was one-tenth, so it’s going to be a really hard race.
“In Q2 it was easier for me because there was almost no fuel left in the car. Here, the weight of the car is really important for the result. That is why we did a better time in second qualifying than the first session.
“But here, it’s not a big advantage when you start first because it’s quite a big front straight. I think it’s going to be interesting.”
With qualifying complete, next up for the Blancpain GT Sports Club is the first race of the weekend, starting at 17:05 local time.
LIVE coverage of both races can be found the series website and Facebook pages, as well as on the GTWorld YouTube channel.