Audi and Mercedes each picked up a pole during GT World Challenge Asia qualifying in Buriram, Thailand. James Yu Kuai took pole for Audi in Q1, while professional Mercedes drivers dominated Q2.

By Steven Walton

James Yu Kuai, who shares the Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute #41 Audi with Akash Nandy, was fastest in Buriram’s first qualifying session, putting him on pole position for the 60-minute race on Saturday afternoon.

In the second session, which sets the grid for Sunday’s race, the fastest lap was set by German pro driver Luca Stolz, who shares the #888 Triple Eight JMR Mercedes with Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim.

Q1: Both Thai drivers in the top ten

Yu set his fastest time, a 1:34.686s, early in the 15-minute Q1 session.

Ryo Ogawa, Franky Cheng and Huang Ruo Han all got within two-tenths of Yu’s fastest lap, but none of them could beat it.

Ogawa, who drives the #60 LMcorsa Ferrari, ended the session in second, just 0.014s behind Yu.

Cheng finished third, driving the #36 Audi for FAW Audi Sport Asia Racing Team.

In fourth was the polesitter’s sister car: the #40 Audi driven by Huang Ruo Han. Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute line up first and fourth for race one.

Both Thai drivers qualified inside the top ten during Q1.

Tanart Sathienthirakul was sixth-fastest in his #911 Porsche. He was narrowly beaten at the end of the session by Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim, who finished fifth in the #888 Triple Eight JMR Mercedes.

The other Thai driver in the field, Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak, finished ninth.

Full results from Q1.

Q2: Mercedes pro drivers dominate

Professional Mercedes drivers dominated Q2, which sets the grid for Sunday’s race.

Luca Stolz, driving the #888 Triple Eight JMR Mercedes, set the fastest lap: a 1.33.347s. Stolz was just 0.033s quicker than second-placed Ralf Aron in the #22 Climax Racing Mercedes.

Maro Engel went third-fastest in his #30 Craft-Bamboo Mercedes. He was 0.105s behind Stolz.

European professional drivers proved very quick in Q2, with only two Asian drivers cracking the top ten: Japan’s Yu Kanamaru, who went fourth-quickest in his #500 Team 5ZIGEN Nissan, and Japan’s Tsubasa Kondo, who finished seventh in the #25 Porsche Center Okazaki car.

The #41 Audi that was fastest in Q1 finished 17th in Q2. Just one second covered the top 18 drivers in Q2.

Full results from Q2.

Header Image Credit: Macca/Asian Motorsport

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