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Aston Martin Sweeps GTE Qualifying at Fuji

Aston Martin Racing takes poles in GTE-Pro, GTE-Am at Fuji…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

Aston Martin Racing will start Sunday’s FIA WEC Six Hours of Fuji from the pole in both GTE-Pro and GTE-Am after sweeping the production-based ranks in qualifying Saturday at Fuji Speedway.

Alex MacDowall and Fernando Rees claimed their first career poles in GTE-Pro, combining for a four-lap average of 1:39.686 in the No. 99 Craft-Bamboo-backed entry.

The duo edged out the sister No. 97 Aston Martin Vantage GTE of Darren Turner and Stefan Muecke by 0.345 seconds, making it a front row sweep for the British manufacturer for the fifth round of the season.

MacDowall and Rees will team with Darryl O’Young on Sunday.

The No. 92 Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR of Frenchmen Patrick Pilet and Fred Makowiecki will start third in class, followed by the No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia GT of Davide Rigon and James Calado in fourth.

Championship leaders Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander completed the top-five in class after electing to not set a time in the early stages of the session.

AMR’s Pedro Lamy and Christoffer Nygaard claimed top qualifying honors in GTE-Am with a 1:50.624 lap time average in their No. 98 Aston Martin.

The duo edged out the No. 81 AF Corse Ferrari, qualified by Andrea Bertolini and Michele Rugolo, by 0.394 seconds.

After starting the session in the car, Lamy returned to the wheel in the closing stages of the 25-minute session to improve his best times.

Nicki Thiim and David Heinemeier Hansson qualified the No. 95 Aston Martin in third, putting all four Astons within the top-three of each class in qualifying.

AMR’s Lamy, Nygaard and co-driver Paul Dalla Lana will be searching for back-to-back class wins on Sunday after being victorious last time out at Circuit of The Americas.

The top-five in GTE-Am was completed by the Prospeed Competition and Proton Competition Porsches, respectively.

The FIA WEC Six Hours of Fuji takes the green Sunday at 11 a.m. local (Saturday, 10 p.m. ET).

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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