Cold qualifying at Fuji

The qualifying for the second round of the Asian Le Mans Series, was run at a very cold Fuji International Speedway.

An overcast track and only 13 degrees air temperature made the conditions quite hard for the teams.

So the exception of using tire warmers for this race gave the drivers quite a lot more grip than they otherwise would have.

First out was the five GT cars.

James Calado in Car Guy Ferrari #11 was the first driver to set a fast lap. The Ferrari works driver proved how tough the conditions were, by locking up the wheels going into Turn 1, and actually had a spin later in the session too. The second fastest was his regular teammate, Alessandro Pier Guidi in the Spirit of Race Ferrari #51.

Viper Niza Racing #65
Photo: Asian Le Mans Series

Tianshi Racing Team Audi #66 with Max Wiser pulled a bit of surprising move, when he beat both Ferraris – something that surely gave the Italian driver a bit of a smug smile under the helmet.

Audi teammate Dries Vanthoor in #88 lost his first few laps due to Track Limits, so he was in for a new set of tires – and then set the fastest time of all in the category.

Both Ferraris also went for new tires, which made them a lot faster than the Audi cars.

TF Sport Aston Martin #5 had chosen to put Ivor Dunbar in the car, to give him some extra laps, and therefore wasn’t in the fight for Pole Position.

James Calado in the Car Guy Ferrari #11 took Pole Position, ahead of Alessandro Pier Guidi in the Spirit of Race Ferrari #11 and Tianshi Racing Team Audi #88 with Dries Vanthoor.

Car Guy Ferrari #11
Photo: Asian Le Mans Series

Then it was time for the 7 LMP2 cars and 8 LMP3 cars.

There was a good fight in both LMP2 and LMP3, where the laptimes constantly changed. United Autosports #22 with Phil Hanson put down the best time of the LMP2 cars, while United Autosports #2 with Garret Grist was the fastest driver in LMP3.

It took some time, but when Pipo Derani finally got the Spirit of Race #8 warmed up, he set the fastest time in LMP2.

United Autosports #22
Photo: Asian Le Mans Series

After Phil Hanson in #22 had been in the pits for new tires, he posted a fantastic time, beating Derani by nearly half a second.

Algarve Pro Racing #24 driver, and ELMS Champion Andrea Pizzitola, set the second fastest time in the LMP2 category, bumping Spirit of Race #8 with Pipo Derani down to third.

Colin Noble in Ecurie Ecosse/Nielsen #79 looked like he had taken Pole Position in LMP3, but lost it due to Track Limits, and instead it was Viper Niza Racing #65 with Nigel Moore who ended up in Pole, ahead of United Autosports #2 with Garret Grist and then Noble in P3.

Noble’s teammate, Christian Stubbe Olsen in #7, was one of the other drivers, who also lost their fastest lap due to Track Limits, in a session where there were almost more deletion of times than actually times posted.

The race will start tomorrow at 04.00 CET, while the broadcast already starts on the Asian Le Mans Series Facebook page and YouTube at 03.30 CET.

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