FIA WEC

Ferrari Fastest In Thrilling Imola Qualifying

3 Mins read
Credit: Ferrari Media Centre

Ferrari AF Corse put on a dominant display in qualifying for their home race at the 6 Hours of Imola. The Scuderia secured the top three spots on the grid in the Hypercar class for the second round of the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) with Porsche Penske Motorsport behind them in 4th and 5th. In LMGT3, round one winners Manthey PureRxing secured the top spot.

Hypercar

It would be hard for the weekend to be going much better for Ferrari AF Corse after qualifying. The Italian team topped both practise sessions on Friday and FP3 on Saturday morning at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari. The Tifosi (Ferrari fans) were overjoyed when the team continued that run of form in qualifying, with Antonio Fuoco taking Ferrari’s third Hypercar pole in the #50 car with a stunning lap time of 1:29.446.

The #50 Ferrari 499P in the pits. Credit: Julien Delfosse / DPPI

The privateer Ferrari AF Corse team came second, with Robert Schwartzman posting a time of 1:29.885, with the other factory Ferrari coming in just 0.068 seconds behind that in third. Such consistent performance will be heart-warming for the team who suffered a disappointing weekend at the season opening Qatar 1812km.

The team who dominated that weekend in Qatar, Porsche Penske Motorsport, are next on the grid. Race winning #6 comes 4th, an exciting 0.148 seconds behind the third Ferrari, with Matt Campbell, polesitter in Qatar, in 5th. Then comes reigning champions Toyota Gazoo Racing. Their mission is to get back on the podium. With their #7 car starting in 6th and #8 in 8th, they stand to benefit from any carnage between the Porsches and Ferraris.

A magnificent sight lined up in the pit lane. L-R: Cadillac, Ferrari, Porsche, two Toyotas, Porsche, and the pole position Ferrari. Credit: Julien Delfosse / DPPI

First of the new teams for 2024 is BMW M Team WRT. They managed to split the Toyotas with Rene Rast posting a 1:30.600. They may still be 1.134 seconds of the pole pace, but to be in the mix with such veteran teams is surely encouraging. The three privateer Porsche teams make up the next three positions, with Hertz Team JOTA taking 9th and 11th, split by the Proton Competition Porsche in 10th.

The two-driver Cadillac Racing car was 12th fastest, followed by the two Peugeot TotalEnergies cars. With their almost brand new Peugeot 9X8 making its debut, the team need to work to get to grips with it. Following a great 3rd fastest time in FP1, they may be disappointed that both cars are over 2 seconds of the pole setting pace. Lamborghini Iron Lynx line up 16th for their home race, followed by the two Alpine Endurance Team cars, with Isotta Fraschini rounding off the grid, over 1.5 seconds off the pace of the Alpines.

LMGT3

In LMGT3, it was a great qualifying for those who triumphed in Qatar, while those who performed well in practise were surprisingly off the pace. Qatar winners Mathey PureRxing took pole with a lap time of 1:42.365, with Qatar’s second place finishers, Heart of Racing Team, lining up alongside them in their Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGT3.

The 4th place Team WRT BMW M4 LMGT3. Credit: Julien Delfosse / DPPI

Team WRT lock out the second row. Italian fans can rejoice, as their hero Valentino Rossi‘s car, the #46 BMW M4 LMGT3 lines up in 3rd, with the sister car alongside it. Sarah Bovy put her Iron Dames Lamborghini Huracan LMGT3 Evo2, while Giorgio Roda put in a great drive to get his #88 Proton Competition Ford Mustang LMGT3 alongside her in 6th. The Manthey Ema Porsche 911 GT3 RS LMGT3 is 7th, followed by the two Vista AF Corse Ferraris, with the #59 United Autosports McLaren 720S LMGT3 Evo rounding out the top 10.

TF Sport had been the dominant force in the LMGT3 class so far in Imola. The team will be scratching their heads as to why they could only manage 11th and 13th on the grid in qualifying. They were split by the D’Station Racing Aston Martin. The #77 Ford Mustang is 14th, followed by the second McLaren, the two Akkodis ASP Team Lexus RCF LMGT3 cars, and the Iron Lynx Lamborghini.

Two home heroes, the Ferrari 296 LMGT3 in the foreground and the Iron Dames Lamborghini behind. Credit: Julien Delfosse / DPPI

Up Next

After the new Golden Age of endurance racing got off to such an incredible start in Qatar, the stage is set for another thrilling round of the 2024 FIA WEC. Can Ferrari hold onto those top three positions? Will Porsche work their magic and manage to snatch victory from Ferrari at their home race? Can Manthey PureRxing continue their excellent form?

Follow The Checkered Flag for a full race report and press releases from the teams after the race. Full qualifying results can be found here.

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Lifelong fan of motor sport, covering the FIA World Rallycross Championship and the FIA WEC, the shortest and longest races covered by the FIA!
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