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Porsche Claims Sebring GTLM Pole

Michael Christensen leads tight GTLM field in Sebring qualifying…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

Porsche North America has translated its testing pace and a solid day of practice Thursday at Sebring International Raceway into a GT Le Mans class pole for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

The manufacturer’s newest factory driver, Michael Christensen, delivered the pole position for the second round of the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season.

Christensen set his fastest lap of 1:58.933, fastest of the week in class, on his fourth of five laps in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR. He’ll co-drive with the familiar pairing of Patrick Long and Jorg Bergmeister.

Two Porsches, two BMWs and two Corvettes made up the top six in qualifying, and were only separated by 0.348 of a second.

The pair of BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTEs were second and third with Dirk Mueller second in the No. 56 at 1:59.024 and Bill Auberlen third in the No. 55 at 1:59.094.

Corvette’s new C7.Rs were next, with Oliver Gavin’s No. 4 fourth at 1:59.222 and Antonio Garcia fifth in the No. 3 at 1:59.224.

Porsche’s second factory car, the No. 911 qualified by Richard Lietz, was sixth at 1:59.281.

Although Porsche’s 911 GT America was the GT Daytona pace setting car throughout the week in practice, variety was the spice of life in qualifying.

Five different makes and models made up the top five positions.

Dane Cameron, a former Sebring polesitter in the ALMS PC class in 2011, now has a GTD class pole to add to his resume. Cameron set the mark of 2:04.258 in the No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3 to secure the TOTAL Pole Award.

He’s expected to co-drive Saturday with Paul Dalla Lana, Markus Palttala and Shane Lewis, the latter of whom was a late add to the team’s lineup this week.

Leh Keen took the No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America to second at 2:04.268, exactly one-hundredth of a second behind.

In third was Jeroen Bleekemolen in the No. 33 SRT Viper GT3-R, with James Davison fourth in the No. 007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage and Alessandro Balzan fifth in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia GT3.

The top five in class was separated by only 0.202 of a second; the top 15 of 24 that took times by only 0.939 of a second.

RESULTS: Qualifying

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno) is Sportscar365's North American Editor, focusing on coverage of the IMSA-sanctioned championships as well as Pirelli World Challenge. DiZinno also contributes to and other motorsports outlets. Contact Tony

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