Shank Racing Ligier Honda Fastest Qualifier For 12 Hours Of Sebring

Ford GT heading onto the circuit. [Photo by Jack Webster]

Ford GT heading onto the circuit. [Photo by Jack Webster]

By Joe Jennings

Sebring, Fla. – With Olivier Pla behind the wheel of the Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda HPD, the Frenchman sped around the 3.74-mile Sebring International Raceway in a rapid time of 1:51.217 at a speed of 121.061 miles per hour to earn the pole position for Saturday’s 64th annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida, the second race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.

Eleven Prototype class cars made a qualification run.

For Pla, the Prototype pole here is his second consecutive.

“It was tough to do in many ways because we damaged the car when we (John Pew) hit a tire wall last night, and the team had to work hard to repair it,” he said. “Today, the team gave me a great car, so a huge thank you to them.”

With rain in the forecast for tomorrow, Pla said the conditions and strategies will be much different.

In addition to Pew, Pla’s other co-driver is Oz Negri.

Rolex24 co-winner Pipo Derani qualified second fastest in the Tequila Patron Ligier JS P2 Honda HPD.

Dane Cameron timed third in the Action Express Corvette DP.

In the highly competitive GTLM class, Bill Auberlen put the BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM on the pole with a record time of 1:58.402 and teammate John Edward qualified a sister car second fastest of the 10-car class.

Auberlen scored his 42nd career pole.

“Today was a picture-perfect day,” Auberlen said. “Before qualifying we found a set-up that was quite good and made only slight tweaks to it. We didn’t do anything crazy, just trying to put a quick lap in, which was good enough for the pole. If we can win it on BMW’s 100th anniversary, I think people will be really pumped.”

Third fastest was the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GTE driven by Daniel Serra.

Another Scuderia Corsa entry, a Ferrari 488 GT3, earned the pole in the GTD class with Jeff Segal driving. The American’s time was 2:02.350.

Twenty GTD cars are entered.

With Colin Braun driving, he put the CORE Autosport ORECA on the pole for the PC Challenge class with a time of 1:54.910.

Braun took his 13th career pole.

Seven PC Challenge cars took a qualification time.

The 12 Hours of Sebring flags off at 10:40 a.m. ET on Saturday.

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