Ferrari takes stunning Sebring 1000 Miles pole

The #50 Ferrari 499P Le Mans Hypercar is on pole at its first event. Image: Ferrari.

Ferrari has taken pole at the Sebring 1000 Miles after Antonio Fuoco bumped Brendon Hartley’s Toyota from the top spot in the final stages of qualifying.

The #50 Ferrari 499P topped the first qualifying of the 2023 season by just over two tenths of a second, Fuoco’s fastest lap seemingly taking the best out of its Michelin rubber, with a few hairy moments in the third sector. His reward was a 1:45.067, set just moments before his closest rival Brendon Hartley (#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing GR010) withdrew to the pits. The Kiwi star’s time – a 1:45.281 – would be over a quarter of a second faster than the third place effort, a 1:45.548 set by the #7 Toyota’s Kamui Kobayashi.

The Japanese-Italian fusion on the front two rows would be completed by the #51 Ferrari of Alessandro Pier Guidi, whose time was a 1:45.874.

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Cadillac’s debut in WEC will begin from fifth on the grid. Alex Lynn took the #2 Cadillac Racing V-Series.R back into the pits for clear air after an installation lap, and his time set late in the session was a 1:46.082. The first of the Penske Porsche Motorsport entries will line-up in sixth, courtesy of a 1:47.193 from Kevin Estre’s #6 car.

The first of the Peugeot 9X8’s on the grid will be the #94, thanks to Loic Duval. It will line up eighth, behind the #5 Porsche, and ahead of the sister #93 Peugeot.

The solo entries from Glickenhaus (#708) and Floyd Vanwall Racing (#4) will start the 1000 Miles of Sebring from the rear of the Hypercar pack.

LMP2: Jarvis tops LMP2 for United

Oliver Jarvis was the fastest of the all-Oreca 07 LMP2 category in the ##23 United Autosports car.

His time, set in the first half of the 15 minutes, was a 1:49.974. The first two sectors of his lap were completely flawless, however, his lap would be slightly compromised at the final corner by dirty air from the #9 Prema entry of Andrea Caldarelli.

Even with this marginal loss, the Brit’s time would prove to be the only sub-1:50 in the LMP2 class. Pietro Fittipaldi (#28 Jota) would make attempts at improving his early 1:50.067, however, that would prove to be his ceiling. It was still good enough for second in class.

Team WRT’s #31 car secured third in the hands of Robin Frijns, while Matthieu Vaxiviere’s #36 Alpine entry will start from the outside of the second row. 11 of the 12 cars in LMP2 were covered by a second; André Negrao in the sister #35 Alpine was some four tenths away from the rest of the class at the rear.

GTE-Am: Bovy and Iron Dames claim pole over Keating’s Corvette

In the GTE-Am class, where the Bronze driver must qualify the car, Sarah Bovy secured the pole position in the #85 Iron Dames Porsche 911 RSR-19.

Both she and primary 2022 qualifying rival Ben Keating were in new cars, with Iron Dames moving away from Ferrari, and Keating joining the factory #33 Corvette Racing squad. However, despite the unfamiliar hardware, they were once again the stars of the show over the course of the GTE cars’ session.

With the circuit getting faster and faster, Keating and Bovy would exchange provisional pole times throughout the early part of the session. Going into the final two minutes, Keating was at the top of the timing sheets with a 1:59.345, just nine-thousandths faster than Bovy.

However, two fastest sectors would soon appear on the timing screen for Bovy. The Belgian pushed to the edge through the final corner, drawing closer to the outside barriers than anyone else. It paid off, with a 1:58.949 securing the Iron Dames Porsche’s pole by four tenths in their first attempt with the 911.

Keating’s time remained good enough for second in class, just ahead of Ahmad Al-Harthy’s #25 Oman Racing Team Aston Martin.

The FIA WEC season opener will begin at 12:00PM local time/0300 AEDT.

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