Kelleners grabs first SRWC pole for Kremer

Kremer Racing claimed their first pole position for some years in an extremely wet qualifying session for this weekend's eighth round of the Sports Racing World Cup at the Nurburgring. Ralf Kelleners set a best time of 1:46.955s towards the beginning of the session, which was stopped three times while cars were retrieved from the gravel.

Kelleners grabs first SRWC pole for Kremer

"The session was pretty long, because we didn't know how much time they'd put on at the end to make up for the red flags," Kelleners said afterwards. "The credit for this pole must go to the car - the combination of Goodyear tyres, the chassis and engine. I had so much grip I was really surprised. I really don't like driving in the rain, so it all came from the car."

Kelleners is sharing the Rouch Ford-powered Kremer Lola with Norman Simon, who was one of the stars of the ELMS race at the Nürburgring in July, running ahead of many of the factory teams before the throttle cable of his Pole Team Riley & Scott broke. "It was my first time in a Lola," Simon said. "I did 10 laps overall - the car is quite different from the Riley & Scott, mainly because that car is eight years old, whereas this is a new car. It's very driveable, and more like a single-seater - a proper racing car, and a pleasure to drive." This race will be good practice for the young German, who will be driving the Rafanelli Lola at the Petit Le Mans.

The #23 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 333SP, driven by Marco Zadra and Philipp Peter, set the second time, with the Riley&Scott of Mauro Baldi and Gary Formato third. Championship leaders JB Giesse were fifth with their Ferrari 333SP, just behind the GLV Brums car.

With qualifying starting in rain and finishing in a downpour, the 29 cars had a hard time, with many excursions off the track. Sascha Maassen, driving with Franz Konrad and Jürgen von Gartzen, twice put the Konrad Motorsport Lola into the gravel. "We've got the wrong compound of tyres," Konrad said afterwards. "We had no grip at all." Sascha had earlier set the fastest time in the second free practice session, with a lap of 1:32.962s, when the track had been dry. "It's a completely different track in this car," Maassen said. "I have to remember my times in single-seaters, and avoid the kerbs that I would go over in the Porsche !"

Joining the usual SRWC competitors this weekend are the Doran Lista Ferrari, with the usual line-up of Didier Theys and Fredy Lienhard fastest in the first free practice, but languishing down the grid in qualifying, lacking the right tyres for the conditions. Thomas Bscher's elderly V12 BMW LMP is also taking part, with Geoff Lees spinning into the gravel at the Veedol chicane. "This might be my last race - I'm seriously thinking of retiring," Lees said. "Although I think that if I was racing every weekend, I'd soon get back into it. But it's beginning to lose its appeal."

This antipenultimate round of the SRWC also sees the return of Denmark's Jason Watt to international competition, after the F3000 front-runner was left paralysed from a motorbike accident late last year. He is driving one of the Den Bla Avis Panoz LMPs, sharing the #9 with fellow Danes Karsten Ree and Jasper Carlsen. Unfortunately, although Jason successfully completed testing laps on Friday, he was less lucky in the wet during qualifying, crashing into the tyres at the Veedol chicane. The car is less badly damaged than was at first feared, and will take part in the race tomorrow. "The systems I am using are very similar to the ones I have on the Peugeot in Touring Cars, so I do not have too much to learn," Jason said.

Qualifying results for the Sports Racing World Cup,

Round 8 : Nürburgring:

Ps.No. Driver , Car Lap Time
10 Kelleners/Simon Kremer Lola B98 Roush 1:46.955s
23 Zadra/Peter BMS Ferrari 333SP 1:48.034s
5 Baldi/Formato R&M R&S Judd 1:48.376s
3 Lavaggi/Filliberti GLV Brums Ferrari 333SP 1:48.378s
1 Pescatori/Terrien JB Giesse Ferrari 333SP 1:50.136s
21 de Lorenzi/Ayari Durango GMS LMP1 Mader 1:50.288s
17 Zwart/Lupberger Ascari Ascari A410 Judd 1:50.339s
14 Bscher/Lees Bscher BMW V12 LMP 1:50.983s
8 Nielsen/Elgard DenBlaAvis Panoz Spyder LMP 1:51.366s
15 Konrad/Maassen/Gartz Konrad Lola B98 1:51.424s
6 Waaijenberg/v d Lof Dutch Nat. Ferrari 333SP 1:53.122s
22 Calderari/Bryner/Zadra BMS Ferrari 333SP 1:54.875s
16 Gabbiani/Tedeschi Conrero Riley&Scott Mader 1:55.627s
27 Lienhard/Theys Doran Lis Ferrari 333SP 1:56.456s
9 Ree/Carlsen/Watt DenBlaAvis Panoz Spyder LMP 2:01.852s

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