What a Top Qualifying! Pole for Luca Ludwig in the Ferrari, joined on the front row of the grid by Augusto Farfus in the Rowe BMW M4 GT3, who backed up the strong form shown by the BMW so far this season. And then a surprise third place for Jordan Pepper in the Lambo. There was plenty to discuss in the subsequent press conference for the top qualifiers. Here are the quotes from the three fastest men on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife today.
Luca Ludwig – Pole Position / #26 Octane126 Ferrari 488 GT3
“It feels great, especially when you consider the story behind it. Two weeks ago we had a total write-off and had to rebuild the car. The guys haven’t slept since, so to come here and be out in front is obviously a dream. The lap was perfect and, thanks to Goodyear, we had awesome tyres. Thank you to the whole team. Today was a one-off experience for me!
It really took until the last minute to get the car ready. We had to make a few adjustments to the set-up, as it was driving a bit differently. But that paid off. Everything was perfect in qualifying. I am incredibly proud of the whole team. We will give it our all at the start and see how the race plays out. I am obviously also pleased to have frustrated the others a little.
We have made good progress with the tyres. A good job done by the Goodyear crew, who got everything out of the tyre. And the tyre does not just last two laps, but should also work for eight laps. I am not concerned about that. We are on a par with the other manufacturers, and it should work out tomorrow.”
Augusto Farfus – 2nd place / #99 ROWE Racing BMW M4 GT3
“It was a pretty good qualifying, but the Ferrari seemed to be faster this time. I am very happy with my first lap. We are just trying to optimise everything. When you see how close the field was in qualifying, that was quite impressive. I must congratulate the BMW team on everything they have done and what they have achieved. It was a fantastic performance. There is always the concern that something might happen, so a trouble-free race is all we are hoping for. I am happy at the moment, but we must not forget that the field is very evenly matched and the race will certainly be exciting.
I think it will be a very fast race. Let’s hope for good conditions. The main thing is that it should be dry. However, I would say that the top 20 cars are capable of winning the race. It is very difficult to make any predictions. Everyone is ready and wants to win the race, so we must continue to work hard.
I was heavily involved in the development of the car and saw how much work went into it. As such, I am very proud of it. But the Nordschleife is the Nordschleife, conditions can change quickly. We are ready for it and I am confident we can do a good job. We must obviously be cautious and react at the right time. We know the opposition and must stay grounded, but I am looking forward to it.
Jordan Pepper – 3rd place / #7 Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3
We also had one of these little scares in the Qualifiers. However, Top Qualifying is always exciting and rather special. The first lap was good, but I knew I still had a few strong cars behind me, so I tried to get even more out of the car. To be honest, I believe they were the two most exciting laps of my life. That was driving at the very limit, if not over the limit here and there.
For us as a private team, this is obviously a success. Our team principal Franz Konrad always wants to challenge for victories and pole positions here. We did not quite get the pole today, but we really have a super car and can be very satisfied with our performance, particularly when you consider the high-class field.
We are working just as hard as everyone else, but we also have to make it through the 24 hours and the night – as do the others. I was delighted when Franz phoned me after last year’s race to ask whether we would like to give it another go this year.
With more cars, the guys at BMW, Audi and Mercedes can obviously call on more data for the set-up. However, Franz Konrad has a vast wealth of experience here, which obviously helps. We are simply taking care of our business and trying to do our jobs to the best of our ability, and to be as fast as possible.