Audi has swept the front row for the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai, following a pair of late flyers by Christer Jons and Christopher Mies in a dramatic qualifying session Thursday.
Jons took the No. 4 C.Abt Racing Audi R8 LMS to the top spot with just three minutes remaining after what looked to be the second pole in the last three years for Nicky Pastorelli and the V8 Racing Corvette team.
The GT1-spec Corvette, however, was unable to respond in time, and a late improvement by Mies put the No. 28 Land Racing Audi in second, giving the German manufacturer a lockout of the front row.
Jons’ 1:57.892 lap time edged out Mies by 0.318 seconds, with Pastorelli demoted to third with his 1:58.211 lap that was set midway through the 30-minute session.
It marked the first pole for Audi in this race. Jons will share driving duties with Andreas Weishaupt, Isaac Tutumlu, Matias Henkola and Daniel Abt tomorrow.
Laurens Vanthoor, a late addition to the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT entry, made it three of the new R8 LMS cars in the top four, with Jeroen Bleekemolen completing the top five in the No. 2 Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3, in its 24-hour debut.
The top-12 overall set times all under the 2:00 barrier, meaning a handful of A6-Am class entries, including the Corvette and No. 66 Atempto Racing Porsche 997 GT3 R, will be reclassified to the Pro class.
The No. 23 Votex V8 GC 10 scored the SP2 class pole, with Klaus Bachler taking the No. 6o Black Falcon Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car to the 991 class pole in 24th overall.
Other class pole-sitters included the No. 223 Optimum Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4 (SP3), No. 1 Memac Ogilvy Duel Racing Sean Leon Cup Racer (TCR) and No. 101 Hofor-Kuepper Racing BMW E46 M3 Coupe (A3)
The Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai gets underway Friday at 2 p.m. local time (5 a.m. ET) with flag-to-flag coverage on MotorsTV, 24HSeries.com and RadioLeMans.com.