Incredibly exciting qualifying at Sebring

The qualifying for 1000 Miles FIA World Endurance Championship race at Sebring International Raceway was run Thursday evening local time, and it would be an exciting event.

The twenty GTE cars were the first to go.

Jan Magnussen in Corvette Racing #63 was the first car on the track, but it was Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK #67 with Andy Priaulx who set the first laptime, that everyone else had to beat. It seemed so until Ben Barker in Gulf Racing Porsche #86 in GTE Am bilen, who put the fastest time of everyone! However, there had to be two drivers in the car, and both had just as many laps as they could manage in 20 minutes. Actually, Barker’s time got beaten by both Clearwater Racing Ferrari #61 and Spirit of Race Ferrari #54, two other GTE Am cars.

Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche #77
Photo: JJ Media

The pro drivers then woke up, and Alex Lynn in Aston Martin Racing #97 set the quickest time, which Michael Christensen in Porsche #92 was close to beat.

After it was time for the second drivers.

The qualifying was stopped with 7:43 left, when Luis Perez-Companc in Clearwater Ferrari #61 hit the concrete wall under braking in Turn 7 hairpin. Luckily, Perez-Companc could get out of the car by himself, but the mechanics had some long hours ahead of them to get the car ready for the race tomorrow.

When the quali got restarted after 13 minutes of clean-up, Corvette Racing #63 with Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen jumped to P1 in GTE Pro. BMW Team MTEK #82 would also get themselves up there, before both Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK #66 and Porsche #92 beat their laptimes.

It ended up with Porsche #92 with Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre taking Pole Position, ahead of Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK #67 with Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx (plus Jonathan Bomarito, who didn’t participate in the quali), with their teammates in #66 with Stefan Mücke and Olivier Pla (with Billy Johnson as the third driver).

Porsche #92
Photo: JJ Media

Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche #77 with Christian Ried and Matt Campbell (plus Julien Andlauer) took Pole Position in GTE Am, in front of Team Project 1 Porsche #56 with Egidio Perfetti and Jörg Bergmeister (plus Patrick Lindsey), and Aston Martin Racing #98 with Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy (plus Mathias Lauda).

So it was time for the 14 Prototypes to do their 20 minutes in the dark.

Rebellion Racing #3 and #1 were fast to set the time in LMP1, while SMP Racing took longer time before they started. Toyota Gazoo Racing waited for three minutes in the pits before driving out to the track.

When they had set the times, they claimed first and second place, with a nice gap to the Rebellion Racing cars.

Toyota Gazoo Racing #8
Photo: JJ Media

Jackie Chan DC Racing #37 with Will Stevens was the quickest car in LMP2, before he handed over the car to David Heinemeier Hansson.

Their teammates in #38 was the fastest with the second driver in the car, when Stephane Richelmi and Gabriel Aubry (plus Ho-Pin Tung) took Pole Position, ahead of #37 with Stevens, Heinemeier Hansson as well as Jordan King, who wasn’t in the car for qualifying. The third position in LMP2 was Signatech Alpine Matmut #36 with Nicolas Lapierre and Pierre Thiriet (plus Andre Negrao).

Jose Maria Lopez in Toyota Gazoo Racing #7 did everything he could to snatch the Pole Position from his teammates, and he was off the track in Turn 12 before getting the car back to the track. But any chance for Pole was gone.

Jackie Chan DC Racing #38
Photo: JJ Media

So Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 with Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso (plus Sebastien Buemi) took Pole Position, ahead of #7 with Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez (plus Kamui Kobayashi), with SMP Racing #17 with Egor Orudzhev and Stephane Sarrazin (plus Sergey Sirotkin) in P3.

As always all the cars in Pole Position get an extra point for the championship, before the race will start on Friday afternoon 16.00 local time – or 21.00 CET.

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