Action Express on pole for Twelve Hours of Sebring
Despite a Ford sweep in all four practice sessions, it will be a Corvette DP on the pole for Saturday’s 62nd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring (10:00 a.m. ET, FOX Sports 1)
Fresh off victory in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, Sebastien Bourdais took his Action Express Racing Corvette DP to the top spot in qualifying Friday for the second round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Bourdais’ 1:51.917 lap time in the No. 5 car he shares with Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi edged out the No. 42 OAK Racing Morgan Nissan of Olivier Pla by 0.169 seconds.
Pla wound up second quickest overall and the best of the P2 contenders in what’s been the closest margin between the two types of Prototype class machinery.
The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP of Ricky Taylor qualified third with a 1:52.544 lap, followed by Ryan Dalziel in the No. 1 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b, who was fourth.
Klaus Graf was fifth overall and in class aboard his Muscle Milk Pickett Racing Oreca 03 Nissan, making it three P2 cars in the top-five.
Oddly, the best of the Ford-powered Riley DPs, which dominated the time charts in practice, was the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing entry of Scott Dixon in fifth.
The IndyCar Series star’s 1:53.098 lap time was more than six-tenths slower than his best lap of the weekend, set in Thursday’s first practice session.
The 15-minute session saw two off-course excursions, with Richard Westbrook nosing his Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP lightly into the tire barriers early, while Scott Pruett spun his No. 01 Ganassi Riley-Ford in Turn 5 moments later.
Both recovered to set times in the top-10.
Bruno Junqueira scored the class pole in Prototype Challenge, peddling his No. 09 RSR Racing Oreca FLM09 to an impressive 1:54.839 lap time.
It was a hefty 0.760 seconds quicker than the No. 25 8Star Motorsports entry of Tom Kimber-Smith, who made a late improvement to put the orange-colored car in second.
The Brazilian, who won the PC pole here in 2012, will share the wheel with Duncan Ende and David Heinemeier Hansson on Saturday.
Rolling off third in class will be the No. 38 Performance Tech car of Rafa Matos, who topped the sheets early in the session with a 1:55.603 lap time.
The Rolex 24 class-winning, and Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup championship-leading No. 54 CORE autosport of Colin Braun was fourth, with Renger van der Zande completing the top-five in his No. 8 Starworks Motorsport entry.
Porsche North America has translated its testing pace and a solid day of practice Thursday into a GT Le Mans class pole.
The manufacturer’s newest factory driver, Michael Christensen, delivered the pole position.
Christensen set his fastest lap of 1:58.933, fastest of the week in class, on his fourth of five laps in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR. He’ll co-drive with the familiar pairing of Patrick Long and Jorg Bergmeister.
Two Porsches, two BMWs and two Corvettes made up the top six in qualifying, and were only separated by 0.348 of a second.
The pair of BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTEs were second and third with Dirk Mueller second in the No. 56 at 1:59.024 and Bill Auberlen third in the No. 55 at 1:59.094.
Corvette’s new C7.Rs were next, with Oliver Gavin’s No. 4 fourth at 1:59.222 and Antonio Garcia fifth in the No. 3 at 1:59.224.
Porsche’s second factory car, the No. 911 qualified by Richard Lietz, was sixth at 1:59.281.
Although Porsche’s 911 GT America was the GT Daytona pace setting car throughout the week in practice, variety was the spice of life in qualifying.
Five different makes and models made up the top five positions.
Dane Cameron, a former Sebring polesitter in the ALMS PC class in 2011, now has a GTD class pole to add to his resume. Cameron set the mark of 2:04.258 in the No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3 to secure the TOTAL Pole Award.
He’s expected to co-drive Saturday with Paul Dalla Lana, Markus Palttala and Shane Lewis, the latter of whom was a late add to the team’s lineup this week.
Leh Keen took the No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America to second at 2:04.268, exactly one-hundredth of a second behind.
In third was Jeroen Bleekemolen in the No. 33 SRT Viper GT3-R, with James Davison fourth in the No. 007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage and Alessandro Balzan fifth in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia GT3.
The top five in class was separated by only 0.202 of a second; the top 15 of 24 that took times by only 0.939 of a second.
The 62nd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring takes the green flag Saturday at 10:30 a.m. ET, with live coverage on FOX Sports 1.