Taiwanese squad HubAuto Corse claimed pole position for the Intercontinental GT Challenge’s inaugural Suzuka 10 Hours with its Pro-Am Ferrari in a truncated qualifying session on Saturday.
The #28 488 GT3 of Nick Foster, David Perel and Hiroki Yoshida topped the group stage of qualifying, ending up nearly two seconds clear of its nearest challenger based on combined lap times.
Foster took the wheel for the final 15-minute superpole, dislodging the benchmark time set by Frederic Makowiecki in the factory Manthey Porsche to move to the top of the leaderboard with a laptime of 2m20.192s.
Davide Rigon then went second quickest in the factory-supported #27 Ferrari, but Raffaele Marciello denied HubAuto a front-row lockout with just two minutes left in the session.
Moments later, Takashi Kogure spun out at Degner, dispersing gravel all over the racing line and necessitating a red-flag in the final minute.
Qualifying was not restarted, granting HubAuto pole position and the late moving #888 GruppeM Mercedes a spot on the front row of the grid, the latter of which only made it to superpole after a late decision was made to promote 24 cars in the final session.
Rigon’s earlier time of 2m02.080s was good enough to hold on to third, just three tenths of a second slower than the Mercedes ahead.
The #75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes of Luca Stolz was fourth and the #23 KCMG Nissan propelled by former Le Mans 24 Hours class winner Oliver Jarvis fifth.
Makowiecki eventually ended up sixth in the #911 Porsche, the highest placed full-season Intercontinental GT Challenge entry.
Jules Gounon was seventh fastest in the M-Sport-run #07 Bentley, beating the #17 Audi Team WRT of Jake Dennis.
Richard Lyons was ninth for full-time Super GT squad Audi Team Hitotsuyama, while the top-10 completed by another Super GT team Gainer, with Katsuyuki Hiranaka behind the wheel of its #11 Nissan.