Sebring 12 Hours: Fassler pips McNish in all-Audi pole fight

Marcel Fassler claimed pole position for the Sebring 12 Hours by just nine one thousandths of a second ahead of Audi team-mate Allan McNish

Sebring 12 Hours: Fassler pips McNish in all-Audi pole fight

The Swiss took pole for the American Le Mans Series opener with a lap timed at 1m43.886s aboard the 2012-spec Audi R18 e-tron quattro, a mark that McNish came close to equalling on his final lap in the 2013 car.

Fassler, who is driving with Benoit Treluyer and Oliver Jarvis, said: "It was a really tight battle for the pole. The car was good yesterday, so I knew I could do it.

"This was my first qualifying at Sebring, which isn't an easy track to set a quick lap on. Being first is really good."

Best of the rest behind the two factory Audis was Nick Heidfeld on a 1m46.456 in the fastest of the two Rebellion Racing Lola-Toyota B12/60s.

The Anglo-Swiss Rebellion squad overcame a handing imbalance that afflicted the #12 car that Heidfeld shares with Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost to beat the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD for privateer honours.

The pole-winning margin in LMP2 was hardly any bigger than in P1, with IndyCar refugee Ryan Briscoe overcoming Level 5 Motorsports HPD team-mate Ryan Hunter-Reay by just one tenth.

Former Porsche factory driver Briscoe, who is racing at Sebring for the first time since 2008, set his pole lap of 1m51.159 in the car he shares with Scott Tucker and Marino Franchitti.

RISI TAKES GT POLE ON RETURN

Gianmaria Bruni set two laps good enough for pole in the GT class on the Risi Competizione Ferrari team's return to the ALMS after a year away.

The Italian, who shares the team's Ferrari 458 Italia with Matteo Malucelli and Olivier Beretta, ended up on a 1m58.896s, which put him little more than a tenth ahead of Oliver Gavin in the best of the Chevrolet Corvette C6.Rs.

The fastest of the two factory Aston Martin Vantage GTEs ended up third fastest in the hands of Stefan Mucke.

Andy Lally set the pace in the GTC class for the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, taking pole by three tenths of a second aboard the lead Dempsey Del Piero Racing entry.

DID YOU KNOW...

...Gimmi Bruni has now claimed three consecutive class pole positions for Ferrari at Sebring. He followed up on his 2012 and '11 poles with AF Corse on his return to Risi this year.

Pos Cl Qual driver Team/Car Time Cl Gap 1. P1 Marcel Fassler Joest Audi 1m43.886s 2. P1 Allan McNish Joest Audi 1m43.895s + 0.009s 3. P1 Nick Heidfeld Rebellion Lola-Toyota 1m46.456s + 2.570s 4. P1 Klaus Graf Pickett HPD 1m46.478s + 2.592s 5. P1 Andrea Belicchi Rebellion Lola-Toyota 1m46.689s + 2.803s 6. P1 Butch Leitzinger Dyson Lola-Mazda 1m48.407s + 4.521s 7. P2 Ryan Briscoe Level 5 HPD 1m51.267s 8. P2 Ryan Hunter-Reay Level 5 HPD 1m51.271s + 0.004s 9. P2 Tom Kimber-Smith Greaves Zytek-Nissan 1m51.366s + 0.099s 10. P2 David Brabham Extreme Speed HPD 1m52.703s + 1.436s 11. P2 Johannes van Overbeek Extreme Speed HPD 1m53.074s + 1.807s 12. PC Colin Braun CORE FLM 1m53.404s 13. PC Bruno Junqueira RSR FLM 1m53.674s + 0.270s 14. PC Pierre Kaffer DragonSpeed FLM 1m53.838s + 0.434s 15. P1 Olivier Pla DeltaWing 1m53.866s + 9.980s 16. PC David Ostella PR1 Mathiasen FLM 1m54.311s + 0.907s 17. PC Kyle Marcelli BAR1 FLM 1m54.520s + 1.116s 18. PC Tristan Nunez Performance Tech FLM 1m54.598s + 1.194s 19. PC Rusty Mitchell BAR1 FLM 1m55.282s + 1.878s 20. GT Gianmaria Bruni Risi Ferrari 1m58.815s 21. GT Oliver Gavin Corvette 1m58.934s + 0.119s 22. GT Stefan Mucke Aston Martin 1m58.990s + 0.175s 23. GT Pedro Lamy Aston Martin 1m59.208s + 0.393s 24. GT Antonio Garcia Corvette 1m59.348s + 0.533s 25. GT Jonathan Bomarito SRT Viper 1m59.430s + 0.615s 26. GT Marco Holzer Miller Porsche 1m59.543s + 0.728s 27. GT Maxime Martin RLL BMW 1m59.736s + 0.921s 28. GT Joey Hand RLL BMW 1m59.847s + 1.032s 29. GT Dominik Farnbacher SRT Viper 1m59.898s + 1.083s 30. GT Leh Keen AJR/West Ferrari 2m00.308s + 1.493s 31. GT Wolf Henzler Falken Porsche 2m00.365s + 1.550s 32. GTC Andy Lally Dempsey Porsche 2m05.446s 33. GTC Jeroen Bleekemolen Alex Job Porsche 2m05.747s + 0.301s 34. GTC Sean Edwards NGT Porsche 2m05.747s + 0.301s 35. GTC Spencer Pumpelly Flying Lizard Porsche 2m05.765s + 0.319s 36. GTC Damien Faulkner TRG Porsche 2m05.910s + 0.464s 37. GTC Jan Heylen JDX Porsche 2m05.936s + 0.490s 38. GTC Alexandre Imperatori Flying Lizard Porsche 2m06.059s + 0.613s 39. GTC Andrew Davis Dempsey Porsche 2m06.219s + 0.773s 40. GTC Kevin Estre TRG Porsche 2m06.246s + 0.800s 41. GTC Kuba Giermaziak NGT Porsche 2m07.057s + 1.611s 42. GTC Lawson Aschenbach Competition Porsche 2m07.366s + 1.920s 
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Sebring 12 Hours: Audi's Marcel Fassler fastest in Thursday practice

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Series WEC
Drivers Marcel Fassler
Author Gary Watkins
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