Alpine took a dominant pole position in Sebring qualifying, ahead of the Glickenhaus and the pair of works Toyotas. AF Corse sprung a surprise in LMP2, while Porsche and Aston Martin took the honours in GTE.
Alpine on top in Hypercar
The fight for overall pole began with the Floridian sun low on the horizon. In the golden glow, it was Alpine who shined brightest – securing a comfortable pole position with a time of 1:47.407. The lap, posted by French driver Nicolas Lapierre, was some 1.3 seconds quicker than the second-fastest time.
The second front-row spot went the way of Glickenhaus Racing, with Olivier Pla recording a time of 1:48.741. The two works Toyotas were unable to show the same out-and-out pace. Brendon Hartley’s 1:49.217 in the #8 GR010 Hybrid was only good enough for fourth on the grid, while the sister #7 machine will start Friday’s race from back in seventh.
AF Corse with LMP2 pole on class debut
AF Corse were the major surprise of the session and start the 2022 1000 Miles of Sebring from third on the grid. Young Dane Niklas Nielsen’s time of 1:49.014 was a good three-tenths faster than the chasing LMP2 pack and quicker than both factory Toyotas.
United Autosports were second and third quickest in class, with fellow championship favourites WRT back in fourth. Fabio Scherer in the #34 Inter Europol Competition car brought a premature end to the session. The young Swiss driver went wide at turn one and made contact with the tyre barriers, giving the team some repair work to do ahead of Friday’s 1,000-mile race.
Porsche continue GTE Pro domination
Porsche maintained their edge over the rest of the GTE Pro field by locking out the front row in GTE Pro. Michael Christensen beat teammate Gianmaria Bruni to the pole with a time of 1:57.233. Third fastest was Nick Tandy for Corvette Racing.
Ferrari struggled to match the pace of the Porsches and the Corvette. The AF Corse-entered 488 GTE EVOs were two seconds slower than the leading cars and will start the first race of the season from fifth and sixth on the grid (behind the GTE Am pole-setter)
All Aston Martin in GTE Am
Porsche had been among the cars setting the pace in GTE Am, too, but it was Aston Martin’s day in Sebring qualifying for the GTE Am class. Ben Keating continued added the latest to a long list of impressive qualifying performances. The US driver put his #33 TF Sport Aston Martin on class pole by 1.3 seconds.
Paul Dalla Lana in the #98 Northwest AMR car pipped Brendan Iribe’s Project 1 Porsche to the front row by just 0.079 seconds. Sarah Bovy was third fastest in the #85 Iron Dames Ferrari. The #46 Project 1 car, which has posted the fastest time in class so far this weekend, ended up in the barriers on its first flying lap and was unable to set a time.
The full run-down of the starting grid is available here.
The race is scheduled to start at 12:00pm local time. Find out where to catch all the action in our Where to watch the WEC page.
Photos: Copyright 2022 Marius Hecker/focus-pack-media.de