Asian Le Mans Series went to Abu Dhabi, where the second half of the 2021 season would be run.
There will be two qualifyings, which was a little different from last week’s quali, where the fastest and second-fastest time were used to decide the starting grid.
The two qualifyings will be run right after each other, so the GT cars were on the track for fifteen minutes, followed by a five-minute break before they drove for another fifteen minutes.
Inception Racing McLaren #7 was quick to set a fast laptime, looking like they were about to take the Pole Position for a while, until HubAuto Racing Mercedes #1 got their revenge for last week and set the fastest time. Garage 59 Aston Martin #88 wanted to be involved at the top and set the second-best time.
HubAuto Racing Mercedes #1 with Raffaele Marciello, Marcos Gomes and Liam Talbot was on Pole Position for race three, ahead of AF Corse Ferrari #51 with Alessandro Pier Guidi, Ozz Negri jr and Francesco Piovanetti, while Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche #93 with Klaus Bachler, Steffen Görig and Antares Au was third.
In the second qualifying, the drivers had to continue on the same set tires, and they weren’t allowed to refuel either.
AF Corse Ferrari #51 kept setting fast times, before HubAuto Racing Mercedes #1 yet again jumped ahead in P1.
More drivers got caught breaking track limits, such as Nicklas Nielsen and Come Ledogar. Luckily both drivers had another chance to set a new time.
The Ferraris were quick as Rinaldi Racing Ferrari #55 went third fastest.
Last weekend’s winning car, GPX Racing Porsche #40 jumped to second place and Garage 59 Aston Martin #89 went up to third.
The qualifying was stopped with two minutes and forty-two seconds left when Kessel Racing by Car Guy Ferrari #57 stopped in the middle of the track. It meant all the cars must go back to the pits, and they would get one more chance for a fast lap if they were interested.
Only three cars went out again: Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche #93, Inception Racing McLaren #7, and TF Sport Aston Martin #95.
Thus, HubAuto Racing Mercedes #1 got Pole Position for both races, followed by GPX Racing Porsche #40 with Julien Andlauer, Axcil Jefferies and Alain Ferte, and Garage 59 Aston Martin #89 with Marvin Kirchhöfer, Michael Benham and Yuki Nemoto in third.
Now it was the LMP3 cars’ turn to do their two fisteen-minute sessions.
Malthe Jakobsen from RLR MSport #15 was the first driver to set a quick time as he has been the fastest man in the car so far. The time was beaten by United Autosports #23 and #3. The young Dane struck back with his third flying lap, setting the second-fastest time.
DKR Engineering #63, however, beat everyone when Laurents Hörr went faster than everybody, but unfortunately the time got deleted due to a Track Limits violation.
United Autosports #23 with Wayne Boyd, Manuel Maldonado and Rory Penttinen took the Pole for race 3 instead, in front of RLR MSport #15 with Malthe Jakobsen, Bashar Mardini and Maxwell Hanratty, while DKR Engineering #63 with Laurents Hörr and Jean Glorieux had to be content with P3.
The second part of the qualifying started with RLR MSport #15 being the fastest, before United Autosports #23 improved their time with a few tenth of a second. In the second attempt, Jakobsen managed to set the fastest time.
After a couple of slow laps to cool down the tires, the drivers went all out again. Wayne Boyd in #23 beat Jakobsen’s time by 0,011 second.
The qualifying finished with Malthe Jakobsen in #15 as the fastest, thus taking his first Pole Position in LMP3. United Autosports #23 was second-fastest, while CD Sport #33 qualified in P3 for tomorrow’s race.
Not only it was Jakobsen’s first Pole, it was also RLR MSport’s first Pole Position in an ACO race, which includes European Le Mans Series, FIA World Endurance Championship, Michelin Le Mans Cup and Asian Le Mans Series.
Last but not least, it was the time for the six LMP2 cars to do their qualifying. Eurointernational #11 was present in Dubai and also went to Abu Dhabi, but unfortunately they had pulled out of the race due to some technical problems with the car.
The battle for Pole stood between G-Drive Racing #25 and #26, while the competitors from JOTA #28 and Racing Team India #64 could only watch.
However, at the very last minute in the first session, Kevin van der Linde in Phoenix Racing #5 suddenly woke up and snatched the second position.
So G-Drive Racing #25 with Franco Colapinto, John Falb and Rui Pinto de Andrade took the third Pole Position out of three qualifyings, ahead of Phoenix Racing #5 with Kelvin van der Linde, Matthias Kaiser and Simon Trummer, while G-Drive Racing #26 with Ferdinand Habsburg, Yifei Ye, and Rene Binder was in P3.
There was a drama when Phoenix Racing #5 lost one of their rear-tires on the way to the pits after the first session.
The qualifying for race 4 was a bit delayed as it took some time before #5 came back to the pits.
The two G-Drive Racing cars again had a duel, while JOTA #28 got suddenly much closer.
Phoenix Racing #5’s mechanics sent the car back to the track after making sure everything was okay.
Colapinto chose to pit halfway through the session when he was currently in second place, and deciding not to have another go.
It meant that their teammate Ferdinand Habsburg in #26 took the season’s last Pole Position for race 4, which means G-Drive Racing was the Polesitter for all four races this season. #25 would start from P2, while JOTA #28 with Sean Gelael and Tom Blomqvist qualified third.
Now all the teams have just under four hours of preparation time, before the third race of the 2021 season will be run later today at 13.00 CET. The race can be live-streamed here from 12.45.