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Honda Ligiers On Front Row At Sebring

| , RacinToday.com Friday, March 18 2016
Michael Shank Racing's Honda Ligier is on the pole at Sebring. (File photo)

Michael Shank Racing’s Honda Ligier is on the pole at Sebring. (File photo)

Honda-powered Ligiers JS P2 cars dominated prototype qualifying for Saturday’s Twelve Hours of Sebring race on Friday.

Earning the pole was the No. 60 Ligier of Michael Shank Racing, which posted a lap at 121.061 mph. The car is being driven by the threesome of Ozwaldo Negri, John Pew and Olivier Pla, who drove in qualifying.

Second fastest was the No. 2 Ligier of Tequila Patron ESM with a lap at 120.872. Driving this weekend are Scott Sharp, Johannes van Overbeek, Ed Brown and Luis Felipe Derani, who drove in qualifying.

The second row of the starting grid will feature the two Corvette DPs of Action Express. Qualifying third fastest was the No. 31 Action Express with Eric Curran driving a fast lap at 210.275 mph. Fourth fastest was the No. 5 Action Express Corvette. Joao Barbosa turned in the fast lap.

“I think we have a really good Whelen Engineering Corvette DP,” Cameron said. “Track conditions at Sebring change so fast with the weather and the amount of cars in the other series that are running so, after the Continental Tire Race the track was really different.
“I wasn’t quite as happy with the car as I was in the morning, but the car is still very good, and very well prepared for the race. We are starting in third, up near the front and down on the inside so it will be a good view going into turn one.  It is going to be a long 12 hours tomorrow but the Action Express Racing guys have us well prepared in both cars.”

In the Prototype Challenge class, Colin Braun had the fastest lap in qualifying. He was followed by Tom Kimber-Smith and Johnny Mowlem.

The new BMW M6s dominated the GT Le Mans class.

The fastest lap in GTLM was recorded by Bill Auberlen in the No. 25 BMW M6. Right behind him was John Edwards in the No. 100 M6.

Auberlen captured his 42nd career pole on Friday – his second in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – running a track-record lap of 1:58.402 (113.714 mph) in the No. 25 BMW Team RLL IHG Rewards Club BMW M6 GTLM co-driven by Dirk Werner and Bruno Spengler.

“Today was a picture-perfect day,” said Auberlen. “I’ve been racing here since the Eighties, when you would see people win by 15 to 20 laps. Today, the days of winning by even 15-20 seconds are gone. These manufacturers are making cars that are so strong that the weakest link is now the driver. You keep beating on these cars for hours and they just keep turning laps. It’s going to be a dogfight – let’s get through 10 hours and when we get to the last we hours we’re going to see what this M6 has left.”

Third was the Ferrari 488 with Danial Serra driving.

The Ferrari 488 being driven by Jeff Segal led qualifying in GT Daytona. Second was the Dodge Viper of Jereon Bleekmolen.

Segal’s time of 2:02.350 set a new course record in GT-Daytona in the Ferrari that he will share with Alessandro Balzan and Christina Nielsen.

“It is very special to score this pole position in the debut of the 488 GT3,” said Segal. “And it’s even more special since this weekend commemorates the 60th anniversary of Ferrari’s first victory here at Sebring. From the first time we drove the Ferrari 488, it has been a completely positive experience. I would describe the car as very similar to the 458 Italia, which was a very successful car, but a little bit better in every way. Now we have to focus on the race, but we have a car, drivers, and team that are capable of winning.”

(This story will be updated shortly)

| , RacinToday.com Friday, March 18 2016
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