As my Dad says “And there it was gone!” Fernando Alonso smashed the Sebring lap record with a sensational lap of 1:40.124 coupled with his team mate Kazuki Nakajima’s lap they claimed pole with an average lap of 1:40.318.
The team maintained its perfect record in WEC qualifying this season, with the #8 TS050 HYBRID of World Championship leaders Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso going fastest in qualifying with an average of 1min 40.318secs, earning the additional point for pole position in the process.
The #7 TS050 HYBRID of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López completed an all-toyota front row with second place, 0.485secs behind.
The number 3 Rebellion Racing of Berthon, Laurent and Menezes took 3rd place with a 1:42.863 heading the non hybrid field, this following the deletion of the number 17 SMP racing car’s fastest lap following the stewards decision (9) that Sarrazin impeded another competitor by ignoring blue flags. This moved into 4th and 5th the SMP cars of Orudzhev and Aleshin respectively.
Egor Orudzhev: “I drove a good lap. I must admit that at night it was not easy to race, but I think we did pretty good. I had little experience driving along the track at night, so during the training session, I asked the team to give me one more segment at the end of the session. I think this helped a lot in qualifying. I made a plan for myself how I would drive this lap, and followed my ideas. It turned out well. There will definitely be a serious fight in the race.”
Mikhail Aleshin: “We had a little traffic and I can say that we were both in a similar situation with Stephane. This happened because we were driving at the beginning of the session, right after the qualification of the GT cars. They left a lot of sand, so we had to, so to say, roll out the track. The team took into account these factors, and the second stint of the drivers markedly improved the results. It’s great that we made a strong competition for Rebellion and we will start from the fourth and fifth positions.”
The stewards had been kept busy in the qualifying session, and most dramatically deleting all the lap times of the number 29 Racing team Nederland car driven by Frits van Eerd and Nyck de Vries, following them both breaking the pit lane speed limit (decision 4/5) meaning that no qualifying time has been set and the car starts from the back of the grid. 1st and 2nd in LMP2 going to the Mighty 38 and 37 Jackie Chan DC Racing cars.
LMGTE Pro class pole falls to Porsche GT Team as Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen take first pole position of the Super Season with a 1:57.500 followed by the 67 and 66 Ford Gt’s. The familiar (to Sebring) sound of the Corvette could be heard once again in the FIA WEC field, the 63 of Magnussen, Garcia and “Rocky” coming in 5th place.
The stewards again were busy in LMGTE Am, deleting the fastest times of Flohr (Spirit of Race 54) and Ishikawa (MR Racing 70) due to not reducing speed once the red flag was shown (6 & 7). Taking pole in Am was the 77 car of Dempsey – Proton Racing with a sub 2 min lap, but the most outstanding team effort award goes to Team Project 1 of their amazing effort to get a second car built following the first car being damaged in a dramatic fire on Tuesday. Team Project 1 take 2nd place on the grid in LMGTE Am… well done!