Alonso sets new lap record  to claim pole for Toyota, as Porsche comes good in Qualifying

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The qualifying for the 1000 Miles of Sebring, Round 6 of the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship, was held under the stars and Fernando Alonso and Kazuki Nakajima both went under a 1 minute 41 second lap to secure pole position for Friday’s race in the no8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid.

Alonso’s lap was the best of the week so far, an incredible 1m40.124 lap time, with Nakajima almost matching his Spanish teammate with a 1m40.513 to set an average of 1m40.318s.

The no7 Toyota of Mike Conway and Jose-Maria Lopez was second quickest with a combined average of 1m40.803s, Lopez becoming the third driver to set a sub 1 minute 41 second lap.    The no17 SMP Racing BR1-AER of Stephane Sarrzin and Egor Orudzhev was the quickest of the non hybrid LMP1 runners with an average of 1m42.730 over a second faster than the no3 Rebellion Racing R13-Gibson.

The LMGTE Pro pole went to Porsche with Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre securing the championship point with a 1m57.500 lap, just 0.1 seconds ahead of the two Ford GTs, the no67 Ford of Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell ahead of the no66 car of Olivier Pla and Stefan Mucke.  BMW Will complete the second row after the no82 M8 GTE of Augusto Farfus and Antonio Felix Da Costa finished the session just three tenths behind the pole sitting Porsche.

The front row of the LMP2 grid will be filled by the two Jackie Chan DC Racing Orecas with the no38 car of Gabriel Aubry and Stephane Richelmi posted a 1m47.288 lap, nearly one second ahead of their teammates David Heinemeier Hansson and Will Stevens in the no37 Oreca.  The no36 Signatech Alpine A470-Gibson will start third with the no31 Dragonspeed Oreca completing the second row.

It was all smiles in the Dempsey-Proton Racing as the no77 Porsche 911 RSR of Christian Ried and Matt Campbell claimed the point for pole position in the LMGTE Am class, finishing the interrupted 20 minute session 0.145s ahead of championshio leaders Jorg Bergmeister and Edigio Perfetti in the rebuilt no56 Team Project 1 Porsche.

The LMGTE session was interrupted by a short red flag when the no61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari F488 GTE of Luis Perez Companc hit the wall after spinning off on the run down into the hairpin at Turn 7.  Teh Argentine driver was unhurt but the car was badly damaged and had to be removed safely before the session resumed.

The scene is now set for Round 6 of the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship, the 1000 Miles of Sebring.  The race will get underway at 16h00 (local) / 21h00 (CET).