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AF Corse, SMP Lead Ferrari GTE Qualifying Sweep at Nürburgring

AF Corse, SMP Racing take GTE class poles at Nürburgring…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

AF Corse and SMP Racing have broken Aston Martin Racing’s seven-event qualifying sweep in FIA World Endurance Championship competition, with the pair of Ferrari F458 Italias claiming GTE-Pro and GTE-Am poles for Sunday’s Six Hours of Nürburgring.

Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander teamed to give the Italian squad its first GTE-Pro class pole of the season, combining for a two-lap average of 1:54.275 in their No. 51 Ferrari.

The defending GT champions edged out teammates Davide Rigon and James Calado by 0.055 seconds to claim an AF Corse 1-2 in the closing minutes of the 20-minute GTE qualifying session.

It marked the team’s first pole since Circuit of The Americas in 2014.

The Silverstone pole-sitting No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage V8 of Marco Sorensen and Christoffer Nygaard will line up third, thanks to a 1:54.498 average, with the pair of Porsche Team Manthey entries completing the top-five.

The top-five were separated by less than a half-second.

SMP picked up where it left off at Le Mans, with the Russian squad taking GTE-Am class pole.

Victor Shaytar and Aleksey Basov combined for a 1:56.528 average in their Ferrari they’ll share with fellow Le Mans class winner and championship leader Andrea Bertolini tomorrow.

Their average was more than a half-second clear of the No. 98 Aston Martin of Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana, who ended up second, despite a late issue for the Canadian, who slowed on track in the closing minutes.

A late charge by Patrick Long put the No. 77 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR third on the grid in class, an effort shared by Patrick Dempsey, marking the team’s best start of the season.

The FIA WEC Six Hours of Nürburgring gets underway Sunday at 1 p.m. (7 a.m. ET), live on FOX Sports 2.

RESULTS: Qualifying

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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