Warmer weather today (Thursday) but did nothing to improve times at the front of the grid in the second and final qualifying session of the Superflo 12 Hours of Sebring.
Few cars bettered their times from the first qualifying - in fact, the GT polesitting Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3-RS of Lucas Luhr, Sascha Maassen and Emanuel Collard didn't even bother to go out.
To recap from yesterday, when all the fastest times were set, all four Audis top the time sheets while the two Panoz LMP07s languish almost three seconds off the pace. Texas may have been something of a false dawn for the front-engined American cars - they are not working Sebring's bumps as effectively as the Audis and the lap times, and lack of reliability, reflects that.
That doesn't worry pole sitter Emanuele Pirro, who is overjoyed with his first pole in the ALMS, despite its lack of relevance for Saturday's 12-hour enduro.
"Putting the car on pole is satisfying," said Pirro. "It does not mean a lot for the race, but we have been the fastest car so far. To keep the pole gives us the confidence to get some clear laps at the beginning of the race. I am happy to have delivered the car in first place to Frank, who will start the race on Saturday."
Claudia Hurtgen improved on her previous time in the Roock-Knighthawk Lola-Nissan. Not that it mattered much since the car is the LMP675 polesitter as the Gunnar Racing car was thrown out at the pre-event tech inspection. Its Lola chassis is homologated with a Nissan engine and the scrutineers had "issues" with the installation of a Porsche unit.
Oliver Gavin bagged the GTS pole in Franz Konrad's Saleen S7R after swapping the top place for much of the session with Ron Fellows in the Chevrolet Corvette C5-R. Gavin improved on the Sallen's pace but neither driver was able to best Fellows 2000 pole position time.
"I ran into a lot of traffic while I was out there," said Gavin. "I know it's a bit of a lame excuse, but that's how it was."
Fellows' time from first qualifying had been disallowed after his car was found to be underweight at scrutineering. His time in the second session was good enough to start second in class, ahead of team mate Andy Pilgrim in the second Corvette. The quickest of the two Dodge Vipers entered by the American Viper Racing team was five seconds adrift.
Alex Job Racing's Porsche 911 GT3-RSs maintained their grip on the GT class, although JJ Lehto topped the class timesheets during second qualifying in the new BMW M3 GTR. The car is the object of some discussion within the Porsche camp, since its V8 engine has no equivalent in a road car, but had hardly turned a wheel in practice without some element of the controversial drivetrain going awry.
The Trinkler Corvette and Callaway C12 posted competitive times during both sessions. The Callaway in particular seems to have an impressive turn of speed up the main straight.
The warmed weather brought the crowds out in force - a row of the famous Sebring sofas-on-sticks already stretches along the start-finish straight and the Green Park 'zoo' is crammed with RVs and empty beer cans.
Starting grid at Sebring
1 Biela/Kristensen/Pirro (works Audi R8) 1m49.110s
2 Aiello/Alboreto/Capello (works Audi R8) 1m49.477s
3 Kelleners/Schroeder/Wallace (Champion Audi R8) 1m49.974s
4 Johansson/Smith (Johansson Audi R8) 1m50.903s
5 Field/Dayton/Sutherland (Lola-Judd) 1m53.182s
6 Magnussen/Brabham (Panoz) 1m53.257s
7 Weaver/Leitzinger/Forbes-Robinson (Riley&Scott) 1m53.536s
8 Bourdais/Boullion/Redon (Courage-Peugeot) 1m54.283s
9 Konrad/Borcheller/Gavin (Saleen) 2m00.426s
10 Fellows/Kneifel/O'Connell (Chevrolet) 2m00.728s
Abu Dhabi / Results
Standings / After 17 races
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|Emilia Romagna||Imola||18 Apr|
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Berlin / Results
|2||Nyck de Vries||47m23.447s|
Standings / After 11 races
|1||Antonio Felix da Costa||158|
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|Diriyah||Diriyah||26 Feb 2021|
|Diriyah||Diriyah||27 Feb 2021|
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