Nurburgring 24: Yelloly hands Rowe rain-soaked pole

BMW driver Nick Yelloly secured pole position in the Nurburgring 24 Hours for defending event winner Rowe Racing in a qualifying session affected by a large thunderstorm.

Nurburgring 24: Yelloly hands Rowe rain-soaked pole

Weather was the deciding factor in the 20-car Top Qualifying 2 shootout at the Nordschleife, with the Eifel region being subjected to heavy rainfall.

Race control decided to start the second section about half an hour later than planned, but the track conditions were still treacherously slippery in places.

Yelloly, who claimed victory in the 24 Hours last year alongside Alexander Sims and Nicky Catsburg, powered to the top spot in the #1 Rowe BMW M6 GT3 he shares with Catsburg, John Edwards and Philipp Eng with a 10m01.619s lap.

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"It wasn't easy at all, you could see in the onboard that I had to work very hard for it," said Yelloly. "Honestly, it was completely crazy. I had aquaplaning everywhere!"

That prevented a sensational pole from the #19 Konrad Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo which had lapped quickest with Axcil Jefferies at the wheel in qualifying practice 3.

Jeffries, sharing with Michele di Martino, Tim Zimmermann and Alex Fontana, had gambled by pitting for fresh wets after his outlap and thus only had one opportunity to post a time.

On fresh rubber, the Zimbabwean managed a time of 10m03.927s, but it wasn't enough to dislodge Yelloly as the Brit improved on his second lap.

Manuel Metzger, the 2016 N24 winner, was the very last driver to set a time in the #4 Haupt Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT3 and posted a time good enough for third, demoting Jesse Krohn's Schubert BMW to fourth and team-mate Nico Bastian in the sister #6 Mercedes to fifth.

#1 ROWE Racing BMW M6 GT3: Nick Catsburg, John Edwards, Philipp Eng, Nick Yelloly

#1 ROWE Racing BMW M6 GT3: Nick Catsburg, John Edwards, Philipp Eng, Nick Yelloly

Photo by: Andreas Beil

GetSpeed Mercedes twins Raffaele Marciello and Moritz Kranz held sixth and seventh positions ahead of reigning World Endurance Championship GT title-winner Nicki Thiim's #11 Phoenix Audi.

Julien Andlauer's #3 Rutronik Porsche and Max Hesse in the #77 RMG BMW junior team entry completed the top 10.

The FFF Lamborghini that topped the qualifying practice 2 times on Thursday elected not to run to avoid collecting damage after factory driver Marco Mapelli progressed through Top Qualifying 1, which started in dry conditions before the rain arrived.

The race starts at 3:30pm local time on Saturday, following a one-hour warm-up scheduled for 11.30am.

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