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Navarra FIA GT: Loeb and Parente's McLaren wins 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 tyres, 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 tyre call at the pitstops.

Having been wheel to wheel with points-leading WRT Audi team-mates Stephane Ortelli and Laurens Vanthoor during the first stint, Stippler left the pits again on wet tyres, 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 frontrunner 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.

Results - 33 laps:

Pos  Drivers                Team/Car                 Time/Gap
 1.  Loeb/Parente           Loeb McLaren         1h01m40.027s
 2.  Stippler/Sandstrom     WRT Audi                 +10.387s
 3.  Tweraser/Proczyk       GRT Lamborghini          +25.106s
 4.  Simonsen/Afanasiev     HTP Mercedes             +51.659s
 5.  Zuber/Parisy           Loeb McLaren           +1m09.947s
 6.  Campanico/Ammermuller  Novadriver Audi        +1m14.243s
 7.  Ortelli/Vanthoor       WRT Audi               +1m17.302s
 8.  Sdanewitsch/Rugolo     AF Ferrari             +1m37.430s
 9.  Cunha/Stumpf           Rodrive Lamborghini        +1 lap
10.  Khodair/Bueno          Brazil BMW                 +1 lap
11.  Doherty/Reip           RJN Nissan                 +1 lap
12.  Chandhok/Buurman       Vita4One BMW               +1 lap
13.  Buncombe/Ordonez       RJN Nissan                 +1 lap
14.  Demoustier/Tappy       Von Ryan McLaren           +1 lap
15.  Rosina/Basseng         Reiter Lamborghini         +1 lap
16.  Haupt/Matzke           HTP Mercedes              +2 laps
17.  Abreu/Jimenez          Brazil BMW                +2 laps
18.  Mayr-Melnhof/Jarvis    WRT Audi                  +2 laps

Retirements:

     Ebrahim/Sladecka       India BMW                 15 laps
     Day/Dusseldorp         HTP Mercedes                1 lap
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