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Porsche on GTE-Pro Pole in Red Flag-Affected Session

Estre, Christensen take narrow GTE-Pro pole as red flags fly for Clearwater Ferrari crash…

Photo: MPS Agency

Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen took their first GTE-Pro pole of the FIA World Endurance Championship season in a close-knit session for the 1000 Miles of Sebring that was truncated by a red flag.

The championship-leading No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR duo set a two-driver average time of 1:57.500 which placed them two-tenths ahead of the two Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs.

It marked Estre and Christensen’s first time pacing a qualifying session since they scored the first-ever WEC pole for the current-gen 911 RSR at Nurburgring in 2017.

The Ford qualified by Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx will start second, ahead of the sister Ganassi car which Stefan Muecke and Olivier Pla shared in qualifying.

Augusto Farfus and Antonio Felix da Costa set the fourth-best average in their No. 82 Team MTEK BMW M8 GTE, which finished 0.341 seconds shy of the average pace.

Corvette Racing rounded out the top-five as Antonio Garcia set the fastest lap of the field.

However the Spaniard’s 1:57.257 effort was pegged back by Jan Magnussen’s lap being a second slower than the averages of the teams above in the time charts.

The best of the AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTEs will start sixth, ahead of the second MTEK BMW, while the quickest Aston Martin Vantage GTE qualified eight tenths down in 10th.

Aston’s other car will start from the back of the GTE-Pro grid after encountering a “technical issue” that prevented Maxime Martin from setting a time after Alex Lynn.

The GTE session’s red flag was caused by Luis Perez Companc crashing the Am-class Clearwater Racing Ferrari into the barriers on approach to the Turn 7 right-hander, with the car sustaining heavy left-front damage.

GTE-Am class pole honors went to Matt Campbell and Christian Ried in the No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche, ahead of two cars that encountered trouble earlier in the race week.

Egidio Perfetti and Joerg Bergmeister qualified second with Team Project 1’s replacement Porsche chassis after the original was destroyed in a fire during testing, while Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana put the No. 98 Aston Martin third on the grid after it crashed out of third practice earlier in the day.

The 1000 Miles of Sebring gets underway Friday at 4 p.m. EST.

RESULTS: Qualifying

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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