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Asian Le Mans Series

Jakobsen Sweeps Dubai Friday Practice

Cool Racing’s Malthe Jakobsen sets the pace during Friday running at Dubai Autodrome…

Photo: Asian Le Mans Series

Malthe Jakobsen led the way in both Free Practice sessions for this weekend’s Asian Le Mans Series double-header at Dubai Autodrome.

The Danish ace set the fastest time of the day in the first of two 90-minute sessions, reeling off a 1:48.013 aboard the No. 37 Cool Racing Oreca 07 Gibson.

Jakobsen, who shares the car with Alexandre Coigny and Nicolas Lapierre, followed that up with a fractionally slower time of 1:48.232 during the second session on Friday evening.

Nikita Mazepin, who turned his first laps behind the wheel of an LMP2 car in a competitive session, came in second. The ex-Formula 1 racer slotted in 0.888 seconds behind Jakobsen aboard the No. 98 99 Racing Oreca.

Mazepin took turns behind the wheel with Neel Jani, with Felix Porteiro absent. The former World Touring Car Championship racer was entered into the event as the designated Bronze-rated driver, but has had his driver rating recategorized to Silver.

Since teams in the Asian series are required to run a Bronze driver, it is unclear if the team will be able to compete in this weekend’s pair of four-hour races.

The top three was rounded out by Mathias Beche in the No. 24 Nielsen Racing Oreca, with Kyffin Simpson fourth for Algarve Pro Racing and Inter Europol Competition’s Nico Pino fifth.

Cool Racing found both of its cars topping their respective classes at the end of Friday’s running, as Marcos Siebert led the way in LMP3.

The Argentinean driver set a best lap of 1:54.380 behind the wheel of the No. 17 Ligier JS P320 Nissan in the morning session, which stood as the fastest time for the remainder of Friday’s running.

Valentino Catalano led session two aboard the No. 5 DKR Engineering Duqueine D08 Nissan, but the German driver’s effort was only good for the fourth-quickest time across the day.

He slotted in behind Siebert, Inter Europol Competition’s James Winslow and the WTM by Rinaldi Racing Duqueine driven by Leonard Weiss, who also all recorded their times in the first session of the day.

Raffaele Marciello pulled a clean sweep of both sessions in the GT class aboard the No. 10 GetSpeed Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

The Swiss ace reeled off a 1:57.277 in the morning session and went quickest again during evening running, this time with a slower best lap of 1:58.105.

He led a Mercedes-AMG one-two, with Martin Konrad second in class aboard the No. 7 Haupt Racing Team car. The Austrian’s quickest lap of 1:58.324 was a mere 0.002 seconds faster than the No. 66 Bullitt Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Valentin Hasse-Clot.

Mercedes drivers made up the rest of the top five, as Arjun Maini’s No. 6 HRT car was joined by the second GetSpeed machine piloted by Alexandre Imperatori.

A pair of four-hour races take place at Dubai Autodrome on Saturday and Sunday, with two more races held at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit next weekend.

Qualifying for both Dubai races takes place on Saturday, starting with the session for GT cars at 9:20 a.m. local time (12:20 am ET).

The opening race then kicks off later that day at 3 p.m. local time (6 a.m. ET).

RESULTS: Free Practice 1/Free Practice 2

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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