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Sebring WEC: Alonso record lap gives #8 Toyota pole

Sebring WEC: Alonso record lap gives #8 Toyota pole

Fernando Alonso established a new lap record at Sebring International Raceway to give the #8 Toyota crew pole position for Friday's 1000-mile FIA World Endurance Championship round.

Alonso lapped the Florida airfield venue in 1m40.124s in the quicker of the two Toyota TS050 Hybrids, lowering Mike Conway's unofficial record from pre-event testing last weekend by nearly a second.

Kazuki Nakajima took over the #8 Toyota to establish a qualifying average of 1m40.318s, a little under half a second up on the sister #7 car shared by Conway and Jose Maria Lopez.

Conway's 1m41.082s left the #7 Toyota nearly a second behind after the first runs before Lopez posted a 1m40.544s right at the end of the session. 

The Argentinian had to pull out a quick lap to make it another all-Toyota front row after an off on his previous lap, his time resulting in a 1m40.803s average. 

Alonso said: "Definitely it was a nice lap, a nice feeling with the car. There were a couple of tenths here and there, so maybe a 1m39s was possible."

Nakajima added: "Thanks to Fernando's mega lap the only job I had to do was not mess up and put the lap together."

The #17 SMP Racing entry qualified by Stephane Sarrazin and Egor Orudzhev was best of the LMP1 privateers with a 1m42.730s average.

Sarrazin had posted a 1m43.542s to put the BR Engineering BR1 sixth after the first runs, before his teammate's 1m41.919s vaulted the car up to third. 

Thomas Laurent had put the #3 Rebellion-Gibson R-13 third with a 1m42.640s on the first runs, but Menezes 1m43.086s dropped the car's average to a 1m42.863s.

The second of the AER-powered BR1s took fifth with a 1m43.005s average from Mikhail Aleshin and Brendon Hartley, while the #1 Rebellion qualified by Mathias Beche and Neel Jani took sixth position with a 1m43.015s average.

The two Jota-run Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07s blocked out the top positions in LMP2. 

Stephane Richelmi set the fastest P2 lap of the session with 1m46.932s before Gabriel Aubry followed it up with a 1m48.194s.

That gave them a 1m47.558s average, which put them more than half a second up on the 1m48.208s from Will Stevens and David Heinemeier Hansson in the sister car. 

Pierre Thiriet and Nicolas Lapierre took third with a 1m48.524s average in the Signatech Alpine Oreca.

GTE: Porsche on pole, Aston Martin hits trouble

Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre took pole for Porsche in GTE Pro. 

Christensen was second after the first runs behind Aston Martin driver Alex Lynn with a 1m57.384s, which Estre followed up on with a 1m57.616s after a short interruption for a red flag.

That gave the #92 factory Porsche 911 RSR a 1m57.500s average, which was just over a tenth up on Ganassi Ford drivers Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell.

Priaulx had been sixth after the first runs with a 1m57.495s, before Tincknell's 1m57.735s gave the car a 1m57.615s average that vaulted the car up to second position. 

The second of the Ford GTs took third in the hands of Stefan Mucke and Olivier Pla on 1m57.714s.

The best of the MTEK-run BMW M8s qualified by Augusto Farfus and Antonio Felix da Costa was fourth on a 1m57.841s average.

Antonio Garcia set the fastest GTE Pro time of the session on a 1m57.257s in the solo factory Chevrolet Corvette C7.R - giving the car a 1m57.844s average after Jan Magnussen had been slowest in class after the first runs. 

Davide Rigon and Sam Bird were sixth in the best of the AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTEs, while the two Aston Martin Vantage GTEs brought up the rear of the class field. 

Technical problems prevented Maxime Martin from setting a quick lap in the car he qualified alongside Lynn, leaving them last in class.

Christian Ried and Matt Campbell took pole in GTE Am in the fastest of the Dempsey-Proton Porsche 911 RSRs. 

There was a red flag during the GTE session due to a major crash for Luis Perez Companc in the #61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari at Turn 7. The Argentine driver escaped unharmed.

Prototype times:

Pos. No. Drivers Car Class Avg Time Gap
1 8 Spain Fernando Alonso 
Japan Kazuki Nakajima 
Switzerland Sébastien Buemi 
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 1'40.318  
2 7 Japan Kamui Kobayashi 
United Kingdom Mike Conway 
Argentina Jose Maria Lopez 
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 1'40.803 0.485
3 17 Russian Federation Sergey Sirotkin 
France Stéphane Sarrazin 
Russian Federation Egor Orudzhev 
BR Engineering BR1 LMP1 1'42.730 2.412
4 3 France Nathanael Berthon 
France Thomas Laurent 
United States Gustavo Menezes 
Rebellion R13 LMP1 1'42.863 2.545
5 11 Russian Federation Vitaly Petrov 
New Zealand Brendon Hartley 
Russian Federation Mikhail Aleshin 
BR Engineering BR1 LMP1 1'43.005 2.687
6 1 Brazil Bruno Senna 
Switzerland Neel Jani 
Switzerland Mathias Beche 
Rebellion R13 LMP1 1'43.015 2.697
7 10 Sweden Henrik Hedman 
Netherlands Renger van der Zande 
United Kingdom Ben Hanley 
BR Engineering BR1 LMP1 1'44.288 3.970
8 38 China Ho-Pin Tung 
Monaco Stéphane Richelmi 
France Gabriel Aubry 
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'47.558 7.240
9 37 United Kingdom Will Stevens 
Denmark David Heinemeier Hansson 
United Kingdom Jordan King 
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'48.208 7.890
10 36 France Nicolas Lapierre 
France Pierre Thiriet 
Brazil Andre Negrao 
Alpine A470 LMP2 1'48.524 8.206
11 31 United Kingdom Anthony Davidson 
Venezuela Pastor Maldonado 
Mexico Roberto Gonzalez 
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'49.681 9.363
12 50 United States Gunnar Jeannette 
France Romano Ricci 
France Erwin Creed 
Ligier JSP 217 LMP2 1'50.705 10.387
13 28 France Loic Duval 
France François Perrodo 
France Matthieu Vaxiviere 
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'51.218 10.900
14 29 Netherlands Giedo van der Garde 
Netherlands Nyck de Vries 
Netherlands Frits van Eerd 
Dallara P217 LMP2 1'51.307 10.989

GTE times:

Pos. No. Drivers Car Class Avg Time Gap
1 92 Denmark Michael Christensen 
France Kevin Estre 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE PRO 1'57.500  
2 67 United Kingdom Harry Tincknell 
United States Jonathan Bomarito 
Guernsey Andy Priaulx 
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 1'57.615 0.115
3 66 Germany Stefan Mücke 
France Olivier Pla 
United States Billy Johnson 
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 1'57.714 0.214
4 82 Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa 
Canada Bruno Spengler 
Brazil Augusto Farfus 
BMW M8 GTE LMGTE PRO 1'57.841 0.341
5 63 Denmark Jan Magnussen 
Spain Antonio Garcia 
Germany Mike Rockenfeller 
Chevrolet Corvette C7R LMGTE PRO 1'57.844 0.344
6 71 United Kingdom Sam Bird 
Italy Davide Rigon 
Spain Miguel Molina 
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 1'57.938 0.438
7 81 Netherlands Nick Catsburg 
Germany Martin Tomczyk 
United Kingdom Alexander Sims 
BMW M8 GTE LMGTE PRO 1'58.000 0.500
8 91 Italy Gianmaria Bruni 
Austria Richard Lietz 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE PRO 1'58.113 0.613
9 51 United Kingdom James Calado 
Italy Alessandro Pier Guidi 
Brazil Daniel Serra 
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 1'58.232 0.732
10 95 Denmark Marco Sorensen 
Denmark Nicki Thiim 
United Kingdom Darren Turner 
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 1'58.366 0.866
11 77 Germany Christian Ried 
Matthew Campbell 
Julien Andlauer 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 1'59.790 2.290
12 56 Germany Jörg Bergmeister 
United States Patrick Lindsey 
Norway Egidio Perfetti 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 1'59.935 2.435
13 98 Portugal Pedro Lamy 
Canada Paul Dalla Lana 
Austria Mathias Lauda 
Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE AM 2'00.076 2.576
14 54 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella 
Italy Francesco Castellacci 
Switzerland Thomas Flohr 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 2'00.358 2.858
15 88 Italy Gianluca Roda 
Italy Matteo Cairoli 
Italy Giorgio Roda 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'00.417 2.917
16 90 United Kingdom Jonathan Adam 
Turkey Salih Yoluc 
Ireland Charles Eastwood 
Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE AM 2'00.543 3.043
17 70 Monaco Olivier Beretta 
Italy Eddie Cheever III 
Japan Motoaki Ishikawa 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 2'01.650 4.150
18 86 United Kingdom Michael Wainwright 
United Kingdom Benjamin Barker 
Germany Thomas Preining 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'03.797 6.297
19 97 Belgium Maxime Martin 
United Kingdom Alex Lynn 
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 2'04.748 7.248
Sebring WEC: Lopez keeps #7 Toyota ahead in FP3

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About this article

Series WEC
Event Sebring
Author Gary Watkins