1000M Sebring: Alpine takes first pole of Season 10 amid Toyota struggles

The #36 Alpine Elf Team driver of Nicolas Lapierre secured their second ever Hypercar pole position for tomorrow’s 1000 Miles of Sebring.

The first qualifying session posed a tough challenge for drivers to bring their tyres up to temperature and bring out their best efforts at a fast qualifying lap-time as dusk set at Sebring International Raceway.

As per usual with the World Endurance Championship, it was 10 minutes allocated to GTE-Pro and Am qualifying followed by 10 minutes for the Hypercar and LMP2s.

Three minutes into the GTE qualifying, the Am #46 of Nicolas Leutwiler spun and put the rear of his Porsche 911 RSR GTE into the tyre barrier.

Despite the light bodywork damage caused, the car was unable to continue with the rules stating those who cause a red flag are unable to continue participating.

The remainder saw GTE drivers hurry and warm up their tyres to put out more competitive lap-times.

Nick Tandy was the first to set the pace in the Corvette C8.R, but Porsche soon showed their true colours.

Michael Christensen edged out Gianmaria Bruni with a time of 1m57.233s, the fastest ever for a GTE-Pro car.

TF Sport’s Ben Keating was a star in the GTE-Am class taking pole position after setting a 1m59.204s, which put him ahead of both factory Ferrari entries.

Heading into the second part of qualifying, it was a session of mixed emotions with a more dramatic incident ending the session early.

LMP2 was typically competitive as drivers yet again pushed to the limits and fought for track space.

The likes of United Autosports asserted strong form as they put themselves P2 and P3 in the class.

Both WRTs qualified one behind another, as did both JOTAs.

It was, however, Nicklas Nielsen who grabbed class-pole position with a 1m49.014s which put him third overall, in front of both Toyota GR010 Hybrids.

Speaking of that top class, the #708 Glickenhaus Racing of Olivier Pla attempted to keep the SCG 007 LMH composed, which proved challenging at Sebring’s unforgiving bumps.

Nicolas Lapierre in the #36 set out strong and confident pace in the A480 Gibson early into the session, and set a 1m47.407s which secured Alpine their second overall pole position since Portimao last year.

Whilst the #708 set themselves P2 alongside Alpine, Toyota GAZOO Racing struggled to show off their qualifying pace.

The session was cut 30 seconds short after the #34 of Fabio Scherer pushed his Oreca 07 hard and hit the tyre barrier at Turn 1, and walked away from a less-than-ideal qualifying display.

With P4 and P7 overall, Toyota GAZOO Racing will be set on catching up to their Hypercar rivals who start on the front row with promising race pace to unleash.

OVERALL POSITION CLASS POSITION TEAM DRIVER FASTEST TIME
DIFF. TO POLE (Seconds)
Hypercar
1 1 #36 Alpine Elf Matmut Nicolas Lapierre 1m47.407s – –
2 2 #708 Glickenhaus Racing Olivier Pla 1m48.741s + 1.334
4 3 #8 Toyota GAZOO Racing Brendon Hartley 1m49.217s + 1.810
7 4 #7 Toyota GAZOO Racing Jose Maria Lopez 1m49.581s + 2.174
LMP2
3 1 #83 AF Corse (Pro/Am) Nicklas Nielsen 1m49.014s + 1.607
5 2 #22 United Autosports USA Filipe Albuquerque 1m49.388s + 1.981
6 3 #23 United Autosports USA Paul Di Resta 1m49.510s + 2.103
8 4 #31 WRT Rene Rast 1m49.670s + 2.263
9 5 #41 RealTeam by WRT Ferdinand Habsburg 1m49.688s + 2.281
10 6 #9 Prema Orlen Team Robert Kubica 1m50.057s + 2.650
11 7 #28 JOTA Jonathan Aberdein 1m50.178s + 2.771
12 8 #38 JOTA Antonio Felix Da Costa 1m50.596s + 3.189
13 9 #5 Team Penske Dane Cameron 1m50.629s + 3.222
14 10 #1 Richard Mille Racing Team Charles Milesi 1m50.916s + 3.509
15 11 #35 Ultimate (Pro/Am) Matthieu Lahaye 1m50.954s + 3.547
16 12 #10 Vector Sport Nico Mueller 1m50.955s + 3.548
17 13 #44 ARC Bratislava (Pro/Am) Mathias Beche 1m51.182s + 3.775
18 14 #45 Algarve Pro Racing (Pro/Am) James Allen 1m51.332s + 3.925
19 15 #34 Inter Europol Competition Fabio Scherer NO TIME SET N/A
LM-GTE Pro
20 1 #92 Porsche GT Team Michael Christensen 1m57.223s – –
21 2 #91 Porsche GT Team Gianmaria Bruni 1m57.383s + 0.150
22 3 #64 Corvette Racing Nick Tandy 1m57.696s + 0.463
24 4 #51 AF Corse James Calado 1m59.299s + 2.066
25 5 #52 AF Corse Antonio Fuoco 1m59.388s + 2.155
LM-GTE Am
23 1 #33 TF Sport Ben Keating 1m57.204 + 1.971
26 2 #98 NorthWest AMR Paul Dalla Lana 2m00.570s + 3.337
27 3 #56 Team Project 1 Brendon Iribe 2m00.649s + 3.416
28 4 #85 Iron Dames Sarah Bovy 2m01.140s + 3.907
29 5 #777 D’station Racing Satoshi Hoshino 2m01.379s + 4.146
30 6 #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Christien Reid 2m02.079s + 4.846
31 7 #54 AF Corse Thomas Flohr 2m02.264s + 5.031
32 8 #71 Spirit of Race Franck Dezoteux 2m02.800s + 5.567
33 9 #21 AF Corse Christoph Ulrich 2m03.116s + 5.883
34 10 #88 Dempsey-Proton Racing Fred Poordad 2m03.560s + 6.327
35 11 #60 Iron Lynx Claudio Schiavoni 2m03.726s + 6.493
36 12 #46 Team Project 1 Nicolas Leutwiler NO TIME SET N/A