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Asian Le Mans Series

Crews Puts Inter Europol on Pole for Both Dubai Races

Charles Crews sets Inter Europol on pole for both four-hour races in Dubai…

Photo: Inter Europol Competition

Charles Crews put Inter Europol Competition on the overall pole position for both of this weekend’s Asian Le Mans Series races at Dubai Autodrome.

The American driver steered the Polish team’s No. 43 Oreca 07 Gibson to the fastest lap time of 1:48.580 in Saturday morning’s prototype qualifying session, which secured the pole for Race 1 later today.

Crews also claimed the top spot on the grid for Sunday’s contest, based on his second-best effort of 1:49.329 beating the equivalent numbers from the other LMP2 drivers.

Reigning European Le Mans Series LMP2 Pro-Am champion Salih Yoluc ranked second in the 20-minute session for DKR Engineering, six-tenths of a second behind Crews.

Yoluc briefly reached the top of the leaderboard with six minutes left, however Crews made an immediate response for Inter Europol.

Rodrigo Sales was third for Nielsen Racing, ahead of United Autosports’ Yasser Shahin and Cool Racing’s Alexandre Coigny.

That will be the top five on the LMP2 grid for Saturday’s four-hour race, however Shahin qualified third for Race 2 courtesy of his second-best time being quicker than Sales’.

Furthermore, Coigny dropped to sixth in the order for Race 2 behind Algarve Pro Racing driver John Falb.

The 99 Racing Oreca LMP2 featuring ex-Formula 1 driver Nikita Mazepin was qualified by Portuguese driver Goncalo Gomes, who was a late addition to the lineup.

Felix Porteiro was initially due to be the team’s designated Bronze-rated driver, however he was upgraded to Silver status shortly before the event. That prompted 99 Racing to scramble Warren Hughes, but a documentation issue for the Brit resulted in Gomes being drafted in at late notice.

Both pole positions in the LMP3 category went to Torsten Kratz aboard the WTM by Rinaldi Racing Duqueine D08 Nissan.

The German driver staved off an early challenge from CD Sport Ligier driver Nick Adcock by posting a time of 1:53.183 to go eight-tenths clear.

It was a strong session for the Rinaldi team, which saw Matthias Luethen steer its sister Duqueine to third in class, ahead of Inter Europol’s Alexander Bukhantsov.

Rinaldi’s No. 55 car will start the second race from fifth on the grid.

Thomas Merrill claimed a brace of pole positions in the GT3 category driving the No. 34 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M4 GT3.

The American driver beat Haupt Racing Team Mercedes-AMG driver Martin Konrad in the shortened 15-minute session, with three-tenths separating the pair.

Stefano Costantini brought Ferrari squad AF Corse onto the second row. The Italian will line up next to the No. 10 GetSpeed Performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo driven by Florian Scholze.

GetSpeed will start ahead of AF Corse on Sunday due to their drivers’ second-fastest lap times.

Qualifying took place more than two hours later than planned after an accident at the start of the GT3 session caused damage to the metal barrier on the back straight.

The lengthy delay for barrier repairs has resulted in the start of the Asian LMS season-opener being pushed back by one hour, 45 minutes to 4:45 p.m. local (7:45 a.m. ET).

RESULTS: LMP Q1 / LMP Q2 / GT3 Q1 / GT3 Q2

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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