Action Express Racing wins Sebring pole
SEBRING INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY - After capturing the 24 Hours of Daytona in January, Action Express Racing will look to continue its win streak today at the Mobil 1 62nd 12 Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida.
Sebastien Bourdais drove his Corvette DP into first place in the Prototype Class at Friday's qualifying session, traversing the course with a top lap time of 1:51.917.
OAK Racing won the No. 2 pole, as Olivier Pia zipped his Nissan Morgan around the track in 1:52.086. Ricky Taylor and Wayne Taylor Racing finished at No. 3, also driving a Corvette DP, as Taylor finished in 1:52.544.
"It was great qualifying for us," Bourdais said. "We didn't put many good laps together this morning, due to all of the traffic. It was very difficult to get a read on the cars and get into a rhythm. But it's not like it's going to be any easier tomorrow."
"But we got a good feel for it during qualifying because it allows you to string a few laps together. By the end of it, I was pretty optimistic. I've very happy for the team and Action Express."
The Ford Ecoboost team, which had dominated the morning practice sessions, finishing No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, ran into some problems during qualifying.
Both cars finished outside the top 5.
It was all about the man behind the machine in the Prototype Challenge Class. All competitors were driving the same make of car, the ORECA FLM09, and Bruno Junqueira reversed a dismal third-place finish in the morning practice sessions.
Junqueira raced around the track for an incredible finish of 1:54.839 to give RSR Racing pole position in the PC Class. 8Star Motorsports' Tom Kimber-Smith was second in 2:35.053 at 1:55.599.
Raphael Matos rounded out the top three, giving Performance Tech Motorsports third pole position with a time of 1:55.603.
Colin Braun, who helped CORE Autosport finish ninth overall at the 24 Hours of Daytona, lost his handle on the No. 2 spot during his final laps.
Porsche North America won pole position in the Grand Tour Le Mans class, replacing Corvette Racing, which had owned the top spot in this morning's practice session.
Michael Christensen finished with a sizzling time of 2:23.903 while driving a Porsche 911 RSR.
BMW Team RLL teammates Dirk Mueller and Bill Auberlen captured the second and third poles, respectively. Muller's best lap time was 2:39.710 while Auberlen came in at 2:17.316.
This appears to be a good omen for RLL, as Auberlen is very familiar with the track. He consecutive 12 Hours races in 1997 and 1998 while driving for BMW, and has been a perennial contender in Sebring since the late 1980s.
Porsche North America won the GTLM class at Daytona, while BMW was second. But that hasn't dampened the Auberlen's spirits.
"I think one of our two cars has a good shot to win the 12 Hours," he said.
Dane Cameron gave Turner Motorsport the top spot in the Grand Touring Daytona Class. Racing in a BMW Z4, he zipped around the track in 2:04.258, edging Alex Job Racing's Leh Keen (2:04.0268) by one-one hundredth of a second.
Keen was driving a Porsche 911 GT America. Riley Motorsports will start third, as Jeroen Bleekmolen came in at 2:04.311 in his SRT Viper GT3-R.
"It was a little bit of a handful," Cameron said. "I thought the track would be a little bit cleaner, but there was some rubber left out there from the Contentinal Challenge. But I'm pleased with our position and I'm happy for BMW."
Today's race kicks off at 10:15 a.m. The first three hours can be watched live on Fox Sports 1.
The final three hours can be see online at the International Motor Sports Association website. Check Sunday's Highlands Today sports section for complete story and photos.