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AF Corse Sweeps GTE Qualifying at Silverstone

Gianmaria Bruni, Toni Vilander lead AF Corse sweep in GTE qualifying…

Photo: David Stephens

Photo: David Stephens

AF Corse swept both the GTE-Pro and GTE-Am categories in qualifying for Sunday’s FIA WEC season-opening Six Hours of Silverstone.

Toni Vilander and reigning class champion Gianamria Bruni will start from the pole in GTE-Pro, thanks to a four-lap combined average of 1:59.125 from the No. 51 Ferrari F458 Italia.

Vilander and Bruni’s time edged out the No. 91 Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR of Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy by 0.255 seconds.

It marked a perfect start for the Italian squad, which swept both the drivers and team’s titles last year.

The No. 92 Porsche of Fred Makowiecki and Marco Holzer will roll off third in class, with 1:59.717 average, followed by the Davide Rigon and James Calado-driven No. 71 AF Corse entry in fourth.

Aston Martins struggled in the 25-minute qualifying session, with the No. 97 Vantage GTE of Darren Turner and Stefan Muecke completing the top-five, but with a slower cumulative time than the GTE-Am class pole-sitting Ferrari.

Michele Rugolo and Marco Cioci took the No. 81 AF Corse to the top qualifying position in GTE-Am with 1:59.932 average in the 2013-spec Prancing Horse. The duo’s average time was nearly one-second clear of the competition.

Rugolo and Cioci will be joined on Sunday by Steve Wyatt, who is making his FIA WEC debut this weekend.

The No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage GTE of Pedro Lamy and Christoffer Nygaard will line up second in class, followed by the No. 61 AF Corse in third.

The only notable incident was a spin by the No. 53 Ram Racing Ferrari of Ben Collins on his out lap. The car, however, managed to recover and qualify seventh in class.

The Six Hours of Silverstone gets underway Sunday at 12 p.m. local (7 a.m. ET).

RESULTS: Qualifying

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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