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Rebellion Takes 6H Spa Pole by Eight-Tenths

Menezes, Nato combine to give Rebellion its fourth pole of the season for 6H Spa…

Photo: John Rourke/AdrenalMedia

Gustavo Menezes and Norman Nato led qualifying for the Total 6 Hours of Spa to earn Rebellion Racing’s fourth consecutive pole of the FIA World Endurance Championship season.

Both drivers turned in sub-two minute laps to put the No. 1 Rebellion R13 Gibson on an average time of 1:59.577 that was good enough to take pole by 0.840 seconds.

Menezes went to the top of the leaderboard after the first set of flyers, with the American out-pacing Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Kazuki Nakajima by just 0.004 seconds.

But the Rebellion driver went on to improve by two-tenths on his next attempt, while the Toyotas pitted for their driver swaps after a single lap for their opening drivers.

Menezes’ 1:59.342 effort was then consolidated by Nato, who posted a 1:59.813 to give the Rebellion a clear edge over its LMP1 rivals.

Toyota will start tomorrow’s race from second and third on the grid, after the team’s No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid out-qualified the sister No. 7 car which is carrying the largest success handicap of the LMP1 cars this weekend.

Nakajima and Brendon Hartley combined for an average time of 2:00.417 while Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi registered a 2:01.070 figure.

The No. 7 Toyota has been made 3.52 seconds per lap slower for Spa, owing to its championship-leading position, while the No. 8 car is carrying a 3.08s per lap penalty.

By comparison, the non-hybrid machines from Rebellion and ByKolles Racing have been given the same 1.58s per lap handicap.

ByKolles rounded out the LMP1 order with an average of 2:01.907 from Oliver Webb and Tom Dillmann which put the Austrian-flagged squad fourth overall and 2.330 seconds off the high-downforce Rebellion’s pace.

In LMP2, pole position went to United Autosports with its Oreca 07 Gibson driven by Paul di Resta and Phil Hanson.

The 2018-19 Asian Le Mans Series champions produced a pair of quick laps highlighted by di Resta’s 2:01.888 to go quickest ahead of the No. 38 Jota Oreca of Anthony Davidson and Roberto Gonzalez.

Cool Racing will start from third on the grid, while the Swiss squad will share the second row with Jackie Chan DC Racing which had Gabriel Aubry’s stand-in Ryan Cullen among its qualifying lineup.

Signatech Alpine qualified fifth, ahead of High Class Racing and the Dallara P217 Gibson of Cetilar Racing.

Aston Martin to Start 1-2 in GTE-Pro

Maxime Martin and Alex Lynn led a front-row lockout in the GTE-Pro class for Aston Martin Racing as Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim qualified second in their Vantage GTE.

The Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Richard Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni came through in third while the two AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evos finished fourth and fifth.

Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre set an average time of 2:15.207 to go top of the leaderboard, only for Estre’s laps to be deleted for track limits offenses.

This sent the No. 92 Porsche to last in the category and handed pole to Martin and Lynn who set a 2:14.635 average in their No. 97 Aston Martin which won at Spa last year.

In GTE-Am, Dempsey-Proton Racing chalked up its first pole of the season courtesy of Matt Campbell and Christian Ried’s 2:17.738 average.

Porsches occupied the top three positions, with the Team Project 1 cars qualifying second and third, while Paul Dalla Lana and Aston Martin rookie Augusto Farfus placed fourth in the No. 98 Vantage.

RESULTS: Qualifying

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

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