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Asian Le Mans Series

G-Drive Locks Out Front Row of Grid for Both Dubai Races

Defending champion G-Drive qualifies first and second for opening two races of season…

Photo: Asian LMS

G-Drive Racing claimed a front-row lockout for both of this weekend’s four-hour Asian Le Mans Series races at Dubai Autodrome.

The grid for round one of the 2021 season was set by each driver’s best lap time in qualifying, while each driver’s second-best lap time determined the round two starting order.

Franco Colapinto posted a time of 1:43.616 aboard the Russian-backed team’s No. 25 Aurus 01 Gibson to take pole for race one tomorrow, while the Argentine driver also set the second-best lap of qualifying to achieve the same starting spot Sunday’s contest.

His G-Drive teammate Ye Yifei qualified second for both races in the sister G-Drive Oreca-based Aurus, with the Chinese driver’s best times being a 1:43.885 and a 1:43.949.

Both G-Drive cars are being operated by Algarve Pro Racing.

Reigning FIA World Endurance GT champion Nicki Thiim qualified decorated GT racing squad Phoenix Racing third for its maiden LMP2 race appearance.

Thiim out-paced JOTA’s Sean Gelael by three-tenths on each drivers’ first set of laps, but the pair swapped around on their second lap times to put JOTA third for race two.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Narain Karthikeyan rounded out the top five for both races in the Racing Team India Oreca, while Kyle Tilley and John Corbett rounded out the LMP2 classification for Era Motorsport and Eurointernational respectively.

In the LMP3 category, United Autosports locked out the front row of the grid for both Dubai encounters.

The Anglo-American squad’s Nos. 23 and 3 Ligier JS P320 Nissans were the only cars to break the 1m 52s barrier during the 15-minute session.

Last year’s European Le Mans Series class champion Wayne Boyd earned double pole-sitter status by posting lap times of 1:51.418 and 1:51.503 to lead the field.

He was closely followed in the timing charts by fellow United pilot Duncan Tappy, while Adam Eteki secured a pair of third-place starting positions for CD Sport.

Precote Herberth Motorsport led the way in the 19-car GT field courtesy of Robert Renauer’s 1:55.552 and 1:56.015 flyers behind the wheel of the No. 99 Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Porsche machinery will occupy the top-three grid spots for both races after Julien Andlauer set the second-best times for GPX Racing and Renauer’s Herberth teammate Klaus Bachler came through in third on both counts.

Charlie Eastwood was the quickest non-Porsche driver in TF Sport’s No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

Defending series champion Hub Auto Racing will start fifth for race one with its new Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, before being set one place further back for the second event behind Garage 59’s No. 51 Aston Martin.

The first race of the 2021 Asian LMS campaign is due to get underway at 2:15 p.m local time on Saturday (5:15 a.m ET, 10:15 a.m GMT) while race two starts at 12:45 p.m (3:45 a.m ET, 8:45 a.m. GMT) the following day.

RESULTS: Qualifying (combined)

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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