Jani breaks Sebring lap record to take Pole for Rebellion


Neel Jani took pole for Rebellion Racing at Sebring - Credit: Richard Dole/LAT Images, courtesy of IMSA

Rebellion Racing took outright pole position for the 65th Sebring 12 Hours on Friday, while Ford Chip Ganassi Racing will lead away in the GT division.

Prototype

A great lap of 1 minute 48.178 seconds from Neel Jani, on loan to the #13 Rebellion squad this weekend from FIA World Endurance Championship outfit Porsche, meant the Swiss driver put the team on top of the time sheets despite Cadillac’s having dominated practice, with his lap also beating the track record by more than three seconds!

Jani finished ahead of the #5 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi.V-R of Christian Fittipaldi by just 0.095 seconds, but the Brazilian veteran was unable to improve on his final lap when he ran out of fuel.

The #31 Action Express Cadillac of Dane Cameron will start from third on the grid after a lap of 1:48.314, with Jose Gutierrez fourth in the #52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Ligier JS P217 Gibson ahead of another Ligier of Brendon Hartley in the #8 Tequila Patron Extreme Speeds Motorsports, while Daytona race winners Wayne Taylor Racing were only sixth, with Ricky Taylor behind the wheel for the qualifying session.

The second ESM machine of Luis Felipe Derani was unable to set a competitive lap time due to boost issues having looked to be in the fight at the front before the session began.

Prototype Challenge

Just 0.069 seconds separated the leading duo in the Prototype Challenge class, with the #26 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca FLM09 of Gustavo Yacaman edging out the #38 Performance Tech Motorsports of James French.

Such was the advantage of the front two in class, third placed Buddy Rice was almost 2.5 seconds back in the #20 BAR1 Motorsports entry, with the #8 Starworks Motorsport entry of Garrett Grist fourth.

Ryan Briscoe set the best time for Ford in the GT Le Mans Class – Credit: Richard Dole/LAT Images, courtesy of IMSA

GT Le Mans

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing took the top two spots on the grid in the GT Le Mans qualifying session, with Ryan Briscoe storming to pole in the #67 ahead of team-mate Dirk Mueller in the #66. Just 0.236s separated the duo with Briscoe’s 1:55.939 breaking the class lap record around Sebring.

The #4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R will start third in class after a good lap from Tommy Milner, with the #912 Porsche 911 RSR of Kevin Estre fourth ahead of the #3 Corvette of Antonio Garcia and the #68 Ford of Stefan Mücke sixth, less than half a second down on the pole time!

The #911 Porsche of Dirk Werner was seventh ahead of Rahal Letterman Lanigan BMW M6 GTLM duo Nicky Catsburg and Alexander Sims, in the #24 and #25 respectively, while the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE of Giancarlo Fisichella brought up the rear of the field, albeit only 1.5 seconds back.

GT Daytona

Whereas GT Le Mans was intense and close, the GT Daytona class was dominated by the #75 SunRacing1 Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 of Tristan Vautier, with the Frenchman three-quarters of a second clear of the rest of the class in just the cars second event in the championship. Vautier’s lap of 1:59.738 was also a class lap record, this time by more than 2.5 seconds!

Connor de Philippi was second fastest in the #29 Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS ahead of the #16 Change Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Corey Lewis, while fourth went to the #15 Lexus RC F GT3 of Robert Alon, just ahead of the #14 Lexus of Scott Pruett.

Tristan Vautier dominated in the GT Daytona Class – Credit: Richard Dole/LAT Images, courtesy of IMSA