Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, 27 July 2013 - The Beechdean Aston Martin will start today's 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps - the fourth round of the 2013 Blancpain Endurance Series - from pole position after factory driver Stefan Mücke (D) set the fastest qualifying time in the #99 Beechdean AMR Vantage GT3.
Running in the Pro-Am category, Mücke’s time was fast enough to better the entire Pro class field to ensure the Aston Martin Racing-supported car will lead away the 65-strong field when the green flag drops at 1630hrs tomorrow.
Mücke stopped the clock at 2:20.675 in the Super Pole qualifying shootout on Friday afternoon, which was contested by the 20 fastest cars from across the two earlier preliminary qualifying sessions. German ace Mücke joins Beechdean AMR team owner Andrew Howard (GB), and Aston Martin Racing development drivers Jonny Adam (GB) and Daniel McKenzie (GB) in the Pro-Am category for the 24-hour race.
Mücke said: "That was an exciting qualifying session. The team did an amazing job to set the car up for this circuit so I could push hard to get pole. Keeping the Pro cars behind us during the 24-hour race will be difficult, but this puts us in the best possible position to win the Pro-Am class."
A second Aston Martin Vantage GT3 will start from seventh position after Bertrand Baguette (BE) set a time of 2:21.293 in the #100 machine that he shares this weekend with factory drivers Darren Turner (GB) and Jamie Campbell-Walter (GB). The GPR-run car is competing in the Pro category, while a sister car is running in ProAm and will start from 54th.
John Gaw, Aston Martin Racing Team Principal, added: "That was a great performance from Stefan and the Beechdean team and it is great to see the Vantage once again at the front of a major 24-hour race following its front row start at the Nürburgring 24 Hour, the podium finish at Dubai 24 Hours and, of course, the GTE version qualifying at the front at Le Mans last month.
"Stefan is no stranger to the Blancpain Endurance Series or the Vantage GT3 after he helped the factory team to win the second round of the championship at Silverstone in June in a similar car and is currently leading in GT Asia where he partners with Craft Racing car owner, Frank Yu. With an entry of 65 GT3 cars this race is among the world's leading 24-hour races and Blancpain is the one of the most competitive GT3-based championship, so to see Aston Martin at the front of the field is encouraging but, of course, there is a long race ahead.
"Bertrand put in a very solid lap to qualify in seventh, which puts the #100 car in a great position to get a strong result in the Pro class come Sunday afternoon."
The #80 Vantage GT3, entered by customer team Emil Frey Racing, crashed on Thursday as a result of a puncture. Driver Fredy Barth was unhurt.
The 24-hour race gets underway at 1630hrs. Follow Aston Martin's progress at facebook.com/astonmartinracing or on Twitter @amr_official.