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Asian Le Mans Series

Hanley Sweeps Friday Practice Sessions in Dubai

Nielsen Racing’s Ben Hanley sets the pace as Asian Le Mans season kicks off…

Photo: Asian LMS

Nielsen Racing’s Ben Hanley went almost a second clear at the top of the times in Free Practice for this weekend’s Asian Le Mans Series double-header at Dubai Autodrome.

Hanley set the pace in both of Friday’s 90-minute sessions behind the wheel of the No. 4 Oreca 07 Gibson, while Laurents Hoerr and Axcil Jefferies led the LMP3 and GT3 classes.

Hanley’s best time of 1:46.925 came during the opening session, while the Englishman backed that result up in evening practice with a slightly slower 1:48.625 marker.

Rodrigo Sales and Matt Bell are also driving for Nielsen Racing, which is the only LMP2 team entered without an Am-class crew.

Second quickest on Friday was David Droux in the Graff Oreca on a time of 1:47.893, with Anders Fjordbach slotting into third on a 1:48.784 for High Class Racing.

European Le Mans Series class champion Hoerr topped both sessions in LMP3, with the DKR Engineering Duqueine driver’s FP1 effort of 1:52.639 holding out as the best of all.

Xavier Lloveras ended up around three-tenths shy of the top spot in the Graff-prepared Ligier JS P320 Nissan entered under the G-Drive Racing banner.

Guilherme Moura De Oliveira ranked third for Inter Europol Competition, which has made a late change to its lineup for Dubai after James Dayson was ruled out and replaced by Alexander Bukhantsov.

GT3 pace-setter Jefferies returned to the site of his Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai win last month by leading the way in Asian LMS practice for Kessel Racing.

While Jefferies’ 24H Dubai victories in the last two years came at the wheel of Porsche machinery, his Friday benchmark of 1:56.822 occurred in a Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020.

FP2 leader Mikael Grenier, who was today announced as a Mercedes-AMG Junior, paced FP2 but came up just three-hundredths short of leading the 23-car category.

Robert Renauer ran third in class driving the No. 91 Porsche 911 GT3 R from defending champion Herberth Motorsport, and was joined in the top-five by Oman Racing with TF Sport Aston Martin driver Charlie Eastwood and AF Corse Ferrari driver Vincent Abril.

Two four-hour races are taking place at Dubai Autodrome over Saturday and Sunday, followed by another pair of four-hour races at Yas Marina Circuit next weekend.

Qualifying for both Dubai races takes place on Saturday. Each class will hold back-to-back sessions for each race lasting 10 minutes, with the first starting at 9:30 a.m. local time (12:30 a.m. ET).

The first race of the 2022 Asian LMS season is scheduled to go green at 4:30 p.m. local time (7:30 a.m. ET) on Saturday, with Race 2 bookmarked for Sunday.

RESULTS: Free Practice 1 / Free Practice 2

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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