FIA WEC 6 Hours of Spa: Glickenhaus Take First Pole Position

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Olivier Pla taking pole position for the 6 Hours of Spa Francorchamps
Credit: FIA World Endurance Championship

Glickenhaus Racing beat Toyota Gazoo Racing and Alpine Elf Team to pole position for the FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps to claim their first WEC pole and the first overall pole position of the series taken by an American-flagged team.

It was a close fight in the Hypercar class, with the entire top four separated by three tenths of a second. An incredible 2:02.771 set by Olivier Pla gave the privateer team their first WEC pole position, starting them at the front of the grid for tomorrow’s six-hour event. The biggest gap between cars in the class was between Pla and Matthieu Vaxiviere onboard the Alpine for pole and second. This marks Pla’s first pole position since the 2018 6 Hours of Shanghai.

Although they showed the strongest pace in class in final practice, Toyota had to settle for third and fourth on the grid, Brendon Hartley being outpaced by the sister car, Kamui Kobayashi by 0.050s.

Showing the team has great pace, pole sitters from the 1,000 Miles of Sebring, AF Corse took pole again in LMP2. Once again the Pro/Am team out-qualified their pro line-up rivals with Alessio Rovera setting a 2:04.246. The margin was incredibly small, with pole being claimed by 0.044s over Robin Frijns in the WRT. Completing the top three, Filipe Alburquerque‘s 2:04.452 continues the WRT versus United Autosports battle this season is gifting. LMP2 showed to be a highly competitive class as the top five were covered by just three tenths of a second.

Gianmaria Bruni setting pole position at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps
Credit: FIA World Endurance Championship

It was Porsche on top again in GTE Pro, but unlike the usual #92 pole it was the turn of the #91. Beating Michael Christensen by 0.180s, Ginamaria Bruni lead the Porsche GT Team one-two at the chequered flag. All of the GTE drivers mentioned that the track evolution thanks to the support Porsche Carerra Cup races that are taking place this weekend really change the dynamics and grip levels of the track, which made the first few laps around the track in the session incredibly important.

The gap between Porsche and the other GTE Pro entries was about three tenths of a second, giving them the advantage but not the dominance that was displayed in Sebring. It was the Corvette Racing in the hands of Nick Tandy that secured third in class, much to the disappointment of a slightly more positive Ferrari off the back of the practice sessions. The race will tell if the BoP weighting is still hurting Ferrari, or if their practice pace will be more relative to the six-hours endurance event.

A great lap from Ben Keating helped lead Aston Martin to another class one-two, with the TF Sport at the front of the class. He said that it had taken a few laps for him to get back into the grove of the circuit, finding grip difficult to track down after the support races, but once he had he was unbeatable. His 2:17.408 was a clear 1.5s faster than second-placed Northwest Aston Martin Racing in the hands of Paul Dalla Lana, giving the American a very competitive pole position.

Team Project 1 were once again in the top three, securing third seventh tenths off Dalla Lana, and the Iron Danes car starts fourth in class as the highest placed GTE Am Ferrari.

Racing gets underway at 12:00 BST tomorrow, with rain predicted on the horizon. Will Glickenhaus manage to keep Toyota and Alpine behind them for their first WEC win? Will Ferrari be able to use the weather to their advantage? All will be revealed at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.

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The Checkered Flag’s correspondent for the FIA World Endurance Championship. Working in motorsport as a hobby and as a professional, Alice is a freelance digital communications manager, video editor and graphic designer at OrbitSphere. She also runs and manages her own YouTube channel - Circuit The World - with videos on gaming, travel, motorsports and reviews.
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