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Jani takes pole, Briscoe tops GTLM at Sebring

Tom Howard

Saturday 18th March, 2017 - 10:10am

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Need Jani on his way to pole

Neel Jani blitzed the lap record to claim pole position for the prestigious Sebring 12 Hours.

The reigning World Endurance Championship winner clocked a 1:48.17s which was three seconds under the previous circuit benchmark of 1:51.21s.

Jani’s effort came behind the wheel of the Rebellion Racing Oreca he is sharing with former F1 drivers Nick Heidfeld and Sebastien Buemi.

The trio pipped both factory Cadillacs in what was a hotly contested qualifying session at the Florida circuit.

The Christian Fittipaldi, Joao Barbosa, Filipe Albuquerque entry was second just 0.095s adrift, while the sister Cadillac of Mike Conway, Dane Cameron and Eric Curran was third.

Kiwi Brendon Hartley put the #22 Extreme Speed Motorsport Nissan Ligier he is driving with Bruno Senna, Ed Brown and Johannes van Overbook in fifth.

Jose Gutierrez was fourth in the #52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsport Ligier, while Ricky Taylor could only manage sixth in the Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac.

Ryan Briscoe

Australia’s Ryan Briscoe emerged as the star in the GTLM class by taking pole in the #67 factory Ford GT alongside Kiwi Scott Dixon and Brit Richard Westbrook.

The former IndyCar driver secured pole by a quarter of a second from the sister factory Ford GT of Sebastien Bourdais, Joey Hand and Dirk Muller.

The Marcel Fassler, Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin piloted works Corvette was third.

In GTD, Tristan Vautier shattered the class lap record by 2.5s on his way to pole in the Sun Energy1 Mercedes AMG GT3.

Vautier is sharing the car with Australian Kenny Habul and American Boris Said.

The Land Motorsport Audi R8 piloted by former Australian GT champion Chris Mies, Jules Gounon and Connor de Phillippi will join the Mercedes on the front row.

Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen will start from eighth in the GTD class following an effort from his WeatherTech Racing team-mate Cooper MacNeil in qualifying.

Gustavo Yacaman took pole by a desperately close margin of 0.069sec for BAR1 Motorsports in the Prototype Challenge class.

The Sebring 12 Hours is scheduled to begin at 0140 AEDT on Sunday.

Click here for the full results.

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