In the first ever qualifying for the VGT Series, Ivan Lesic and KGP Lotus Renault set the fastest lap time to ensure he and team-mate Vikram Iyer were on pole position for the Remus Race of Austria.
The VGT Series has three thirty minute qualifying sessions, with the best time from each team's designated driver taken forward to form the grid.
The Red Bull Ring is the venue for the first round of the 2017 season, and indeed the first ever VGT race. As the shortest circuit of the season, the lap times should be very close between each of the competitors, with it also posing the biggest threat in terms of hitting traffic on flying laps. This shouldn't be too much of an issue in this first round however, as the 14 car field will easily be able to find a clear spot on the track. The long straight after turn one also lends itself to drafting, so it's possible some teams may try to send their cars out in a group to take advantage of this.
Ivan Lesic set the fastest time in the early morning session, while his KGP Lotus team-mate Jonas Phipps was very close behind. Regi Abott and Gerard Alaniz both showed some of the Renault R.S.01's potential, while Koenigsegg and Nathaniel Powers' McLaren team both seemed to struggle to get to grips with their cars and the Spielberg circuit.
Regi Abott topped the timesheets in the second session, though couldn't quite match Lesic's lap from the morning session. Kip Maxwell showed the true pace of the NPR McLaren in second, while Abel Osterhagen was fourth for the second session in a row, indicating the Ferraris of Hibernas Lupas will be in with a chance this weekend. Koenigsegg continued to struggle, though Bayurn Zrigovic did manage to improve his lap time by 3 tenths of a second.
The final session of the day was far and away the closest, but the cooler temperatures of the afternoon meant only two drivers set their best time in the session - Fillipio Fazio and Germund Svensson. Indeed, most teams now turned their attentions to race setup, and it was Osterhagen that set the fastest lap time at his home track. The top 8 were covered by just over a second, and 4 teams had a car in the top 5, indicating a closely fought race to come.
Overall Times and Grid for Round 1:
With his lap in the first session, Ivan Lesic set a benchmark that wasn't to be beaten all day. Regi Abott's time in Q2 was enough to get him P2 on the grid, but only by 12 thousandths of a second over the second KGP car of Jonas Phipps. Abel Osterhagen will start his home race in fourth, ahead of Kip Maxwell, who seems to have settled in very well to the McLaren team being run by Nathaniel Powers this season. Gerard Alaniz was 6th in the second Lapierre Renault, while Emma Wilson and Hilario Bull will start on the fourth row. Rafael Martinez will start ninth with the best of the struggling Koenigseggs in tenth with Germund Svensson. Bayurn Zrigovic and Lucas Tetrault will be on row six, while the back of the grid will be filled by Fillipio Fazio and Peruvian Fernando Pizarro.
Tomorrow sees the first race in VGT Series history and it is too close to call, with the added unknown of driver changes and pitstops only making it harder to predict. Join us tomorrow to see who wins!