Neel Jani takes Rebellion Oreca-Gibson to Sebring pole

The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring gets underway at 10:40 a.m. ET, with live coverage beginning on FOX Sports GO at 10:30 a.m. ET and FS1 beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET. (Photo: Richard Dole/LAT Images)
Richard Dole/© Richard Dole/LAT Images www.latphoto.co.uk

Rebellion Racing will start Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring from the pole, with Neel Jani smashing the track qualifying record in a heated qualifying session Saturday.

The reigning FIA World Endurance Champion reeled off a 1:48.178 lap time in the No. 13 Oreca 07 Gibson, marking the first pole for a global-spec LMP2 car in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition.

Jani edged out the Rolex 24 at Daytona pole-sitting No. 5 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi.V-R of Christian Fittipaldi by 0.095 seconds.

Fittipaldi was on a late flyer in his Cadillac, but ran out of fuel on his final lap, dashing hopes of stealing the pole away in the closing moments of the 15-minute session.

The No. 31 Action Express Cadillac, qualified by Dane Cameron was third, with Jose Gutierrez fourth in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Ligier JS P217 Gibson with a 1:49.056 lap time.

Brendon Hartley completed the top-five in the No. 22 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPi, with Ricky Taylor only able to muster sixth in the Rolex 24-winning Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac.

The No. 2 ESM Nissan, which was on a quick flyer in the hands of Pipo Derani, lost all of its qualifying times after a boost-related infraction. The car pitted with engine issues prior to setting a competitive lap.

Gustavo Yacaman, meanwhile, claimed Prototype Challenge pole honors, in a cut-throat battle with James French.

The Colombian reeled off a 1:53.506 on his final lap in the No. 26 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca FLM09 to edge out French’s Daytona class-winning Performance Tech entry by just 0.069 seconds.

Buddy Rice qualified third in the sister BAR1 entry, nearly 2.5 seconds behind.

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing claimed the top two spots in GT Le Mans qualifying ahead of Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, led by Ryan Briscoe in the No. 67 Ford GT.

The Australian smashed the class track qualifying record, reeling off a fast lap of 1:55.939 to edge out the sister No. 66 car of Dirk Mueller by 0.236 seconds.

Briscoe’s lap was nearly 2.5 seconds quicker than Bill Auberlen’s GTLM pole time last year.

While Briscoe and co-drivers Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon search for their first major endurance race win together, Mueller, Hand and Sebastien Bourdais seek completing the “triple crown” of endurance races.

Tommy Milner put the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R third in class, with Kevin Estre fourth in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR.

The No. 3 Corvette and No. 68 Ford completed the top three rows for Saturday’s race, with the top six cars in class covered by just over a half-second.

Tristan Vautier took a dominant class pole in GT Daytona, marking the first for both SunEnergy1 Racing and Mercedes-AMG in only their second outing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

The Frenchman completed a best lap of 1:59.738 in the No. 75 entry he’ll share with Boris Said and Kenny Habul, a full three-quarters of a second faster than Connor de Philippi in the No. 29 Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS.

As was the case in GTLM, it was another track qualifying record.

Corey Lewis qualified third in the No. 16 Change Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3, with Lexus locking down the fourth and fifth quickest times in class, led by an impressive qualifying performance by Robert Alon in the No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3.

The No. 14 Lexus was fifth, in the hands of Scott Pruett.

Both Acura NSX GT3 entries from Michael Shank Racing returned to the track and post times after both the Nos. 93 and 86 cars encountered problems in practice earlier in the day.

They will start 11th and 14th, respectively.

The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring gets underway at 10:40 a.m. ET, with live coverage beginning on FOX Sports GO at 10:30 a.m. ET and FS1 beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET.