A mere 50 thousandths of a second decided the battle for pole. In a close-fought first qualifying session, Connor De Phillippi (24, USA, Montaplast by Land-Motorsport) secured the best grid position for Saturday's ADAC GT Masters race at the Sachsenring. The American took the first pole position of the year for the Audi R8 LMS. Mercedes-AMG driver Sebastian Asch (31, DEU, BWT Mücke Motorsport) finished second ahead of Nicolai Sylvest (20, DK, Mercedes-AMG Team ZAKSPEED) in another Mercedes-AMG. SPORT1 will broadcast the eleventh race of the season live and in full at 1.00 pm. It can also be watched online as live stream at sport1.de and adac.de/motorsport.
Despite cool temperatures of just under 10 degrees, De Phillippi set a new record for qualifying as he secured pole with a time of 1.17.542 minutes at the recently resurfaced Sachsenring. He beat the record set last year by 0.7 seconds. "We've made a huge leap forward with the car since yesterday," said last year's ADAC GT Masters champion after taking his fourth pole position in the series. "Everything was dead right. Being on pole is a terrific way to start the weekend. It was quite cold, so I took great care to get my tyres up to temperature on the first two laps. After that, the car was perfect and I was able to get in two or three hot laps. It will be warmer this afternoon. We'll have to see how things go then, as we didn't post any long-runs on Friday."
Sebastian Asch, who is sharing the Mercedes-AMG with DTM star Edoardo Mortara for the first time and was fastest in practice, missed best time by the narrowest of margins with a 1.17.592. Fellow Mercedes-AMG driver Nicolai Sylvest in third place secured his best grid position of the season. Behind him in P4 came Indy Dontje (24, NL, Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport) in another GT3 sports car from the marque with the star. Norbert Siedler (34, A, Team HB Racing) in the best-placed Lamborghini Huracán took P5 from ADAC GT Masters newcomer Alessio Picariello (24, B, BWT Mücke Motorsport), who is sharing the Audi R8 with DTM title contender Jamie Green (35, GB ) this weekend.
Championship leader Jules Gounon (22, F, Callaway Competition) had a tough time in qualifying. The Corvette driver was 0.8 seconds down on best time, which translated into P17 on the grid. His rivals for the title, BMW driver Philipp Eng (27, A, BMW Team Schnitzer) & Kelvin van der Linde (21, ZA, Aust Motorsport), will be in front of him on the grid in positions ten and eleven. Their respective team-mates, Nicky Catsburg (29, NL) and Sheldon van der Linde (18, ZA) were at the wheel in this first qualifying session.