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Vaxiviere Takes Alpine’s First Hypercar Pole at Portimao

Alpine clinches pole for 8H Portimao after quick laps from Matthieu Vaxiviere…

Photo: MPS Agency

Matthieu Vaxiviere gave Alpine Endurance Team its maiden FIA World Endurance Championship outright pole position for round two of the 2021 season at Portimao.

Vaxiviere, who is teamed up with Andre Negrao and Nicolas Lapierre, topped Saturday evening’s 10-minute session with a time of 1:30.364 that beat the best efforts from Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Brendon Hartley in second and Mike Conway in third.

Vaxiviere initially set the grandfathered Alpine A480 Gibson LMP1 car on provisional pole with a 1:30.524 effort, but the Frenchman went further by improving on his final tour after ducking into the pits for new tires.

His return to the track proved to be crucial, as Hartley filed a late improvement of 1:30.458 in the No. 8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid.

Conway’s No. 7 Toyota initially looked set to join the Alpine on the front row until Hartley charged through at the end. The New Zealander ended up 0.094 seconds shy of pole.

Glickenhaus Racing’s SCG 007 LMH will start its first WEC race from 11th on the grid after Richard Westbrook registered a time of 1:32.167 in the Pipo-engined non-hybrid.

JOTA claimed a one-two in the LMP2 category as Tom Blomqvist led from his teammate Antonio Felix da Costa.

Blomqvist’s No. 28 Oreca 07 Gibson will share the second row of the grid with Conway’s Toyota, while Da Costa lines up behind him and next to Job van Uitert who qualified third in the Racing Team Nederland Pro-Am Oreca run by TDS Racing.

Blomqvist took pole with a 1:31.210 flying lap, which put the JOTA driver 0.845 seconds off Vaxiviere and less than a tenth clear of Da Costa in the sister No. 38 Oreca.

After leading both Free Practice sessions outright on Saturday, Paul di Resta settled for fourth in LMP2 qualifying for United Autosports after a hectic session for the Scot who was one of several LMP2 drivers to face lap time deletions due to track limits.

Di Resta ended up on a 1:31.598, ahead of Team WRT’s Robin Frijns and Alex Brundle of Inter Europol Competition in fourth and fifth, or eighth and ninth overall.

Estre Banks Second Pole for Porsche

Kevin Estre captured his second consecutive GTE-Pro pole with a time of 1:37.966 in the No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR-19.

Estre went almost four-tenths clear of James Calado in the No. 51 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo while Gianmaria Bruni qualified third in the No. 91 factory Porsche.

Ferrari driver Daniel Serra initially placed fourth in the GTE field after the first set of serious Pro flying laps, but the Brazilian’s best effort was deleted for track limits

This initially left Serra 17th and last in the combined GTE Pro and Am classification, but one of his deleted lap times was reinstated after the session, enabling him to take fourth on the grid.

Egidio Perfetti steered the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche to a time of 1:40.191 late in the session to displace provisional GTE-Am pole-sitter Christian Ried of Dempsey-Proton Racing.

Roberto Lacorte was third in the Cetilar Ferrari, ahead of Thomas Flohr who recovered from a spin early in the session to grab fourth.

The top Aston Martin Vantage GTE was the No. 98 NorthWest AMR machine in eighth.

RESULTS: Qualifying

This story was updated following the post-qualifying reinstatement of a deleted lap time for the No. 52 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo.

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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