SEBRING, Fla. – After two days of dodging traffic and compiling less-than-definitive data in practice runs, Sebastien Bourdais ran freely in qualifying, capturing the pole for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida on Friday.
Bourdais, who will co-drive the No. 5 Corvette DP with Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa Saturday, had a lap of 1 minute, 51.917 seconds (120.303 mph) on the 3.74-mile Sebring Int’l Raceway road circuit, fastest in the headlining Prototype class and overall. Also qualifying on the front row was the No. 42 Morgan/Nissan of Olivier Pla, at 1:52.086 (120.122).
Bourdais, Fittipaldi and Bourdais are trying to become the first drivers since 1998 to win the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Twelve Hours in the same season.
Sebring, being held for the 62nd time this year, is the second race in the new IMSA-sanctioned TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the result of the merger of the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.
Sixty-three cars will take the green flag Saturday at 10:15 a.m. ET.
“This was great qualifying for us,” said Bourdais, a four-time champion of the old Champ Car World Series who is one of nine IndyCar Series drivers competing at Sebring.
“It’s been very difficult to get a read on the car [in practice sessions]; traffic has been very difficult. It’s been tough to get the balance of the car, tough to get into a rhythm. But in qualifying you could string a few laps together. I was able to do that.”
Four classes will compete simultaneously in the Twelve Hours. The respective pole winners in the other classes:
– Prototype Challenge: In the No. 09 ORECA FLM09, Brazilian Bruno Junqueira, with a lap of 1:54.839 (117.242). Duncan Ende and David Hansson will co-drive Saturday.
– GT Le Mans: In the No. 911 Porsche 911, Denmark’s Michael Christensen, with a lap of 1:58.933 (113.207). Christensen will co-drive with Patrick Long and Jorg Burgmeister.
– GT Daytona: In the No. 94 BMW Z4, Atlanta’s Dane Cameron, via a lap at 2:04.258 (108.355). Cameron’s co-drivers are Paul Dalla Lana, Markus Palttala and Shane Lewis.