Ferrari stunned Toyota by taking its first pole position of the 2023 World Endurance Championship season ahead of this weekend’s Sebring 1000 Miles.
Antonio Fuoco set what later turned out to be the reference time of 1:45.067 seconds at the wheel of the fastest of the two brand new Ferrari 499P Le Mans Hypercars making their race debut this weekend.
Fuoco’s lap in the #50 car, which he shares with Miguel Molina and Nicklas Nielsen, saw Brendon Hartley’s #8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid fall from provisional pole by almost three-tenths of a second.
Hartley was able to shave off almost a tenth of his best time to get back to a 1m45.281, but Toyota conceded defeat as the tires reached their peak in the closing stages of the 15-minute Hypercar session.
Kamui Kobayashi was third fastest in the #7 Toyota, 0.481s off pole, ahead of the #51 Ferrari in which Alessandro Pier Guidi was eight-tenths behind, narrowly behind in turn 7.
Cadillac took fifth on the grid with his solo Chip Ganassi Racing run V.Series.R, Alex Lynn beating the two Porsche 963s to honor the top LMDh runner.
Lynn spent the early part of the session in the pits with an obvious problem, but managed to return to the track with six minutes to go to set a 1m46.082s, over a second faster than Kevin Estre or Michael Christensen succeeded in their Porsches. .
Peugeot was a disappointing eighth and ninth with its two 9X8 LMHs, the fastest of which was 2.3 seconds behind with Loic Duval at the wheel.
The car of Mikkel Jensen’s sister #93 stopped briefly on the track at the start of the session before moving on again.
Glickenhaus and Vanwall rounded out the 11-car Hypercar field, both more than four seconds off the pace.
United Autosports, Iron Dames get class poles
Oliver Jarvis took the LMP2 pole for United Autosports in the #23 ORECA 07 Gibson shared with Tom Blomqvist and Josh Pierson.
A best time of 1m49.974s from Jarvis was enough to beat JOTA’s season #28 ORECA from Pietro Fittipaldi by 0.093s.
The 12-car field was split between those that chose to change tires midway through the 15-minute session and those that didn’t, but the top two entrants fell into the latter category.
WRT opted for mid-session pit stops for both cars, with Robin Frijns’ faster #31 car taking third ahead of the leading Alpine entry, Matthieu Vaxiviere’s #36 car, which also opted for a tire change.
JOTA’s #48 car, running at Sebring instead of the team’s yet-to-deliver Porsche 963, was fifth fastest in the hands of Yifei Ye.
In GTE Am, the first pole of the new season went to the #85 Iron Dames Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Sarah Bovy, Rahel Frey and Michelle Gatting.
#85 Iron Dames Porsche 911 RSR – 19: Sarah Bovy, Michelle Gatting, Rahel Frey
Photo by: Porsche Motorsport
Bovy came out on top in an entertaining battle with Corvette Racing’s Ben Keating with a fastest lap of 1:58.949, enough to beat the lone C8.R in the field by 0.396 seconds.
Third fastest was the #25 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage of Ahmad Al Harthy, while Luis Perez Companc ensured all four manufacturers were represented in the top four in the #83 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE.
The Sebring 1000 Miles starts on Friday at 12 noon local time (GMT -5).