American-flagged team Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus stormed to its first FIA WEC pole position this evening at Spa-Francorchamps ahead of the second round of the 2022 season, following a stunning effort from Frenchman Olivier Pla in the team’s 007 LMH.
Jim Glickenhaus himself unfortunately wasn’t present for the team’s achievement — instead, he is trackside at the Nurburgring for the 24 Hour Qualifiers weekend with his GT team — but he will nevertheless be proud of this one. Pla set a 2m02.771s in the No. 708 to go 0.228s clear of the Alpine, which will start alongside it on the front row.
“I’m really happy — it’s a great achievement for Glickenhaus,” said Pla’s teammate, Pipo Derani. “Olivier deserves it, the team deserves it. It’s going to be a long day ahead tomorrow — we have a lot to improve — but this is a great day for the team.”
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Toyota had a rather disappointing outing in qualifying, its pair of GR010 HYBRIDs settling for third and fourth on the grid with both cars heading to the pits with 90 seconds to go, throwing in the towel early. The No. 7 Toyota will start third after a 2m03.087s from Kamui Kobayashi, while the No. 8 Toyota will line up fourth following Brendon Hartley’s time in the car.
In LMP2, Alessio Rovera jumped from 12th on the timing screens to take pole right at the end of the session, with a 2m04.246s in the Pro/Am class No. 83 AF Corse ORECA. His time was less than a tenth up on Robin Frijns, who sat atop the class before the final flurry of times were posted by LMP2 teams in the final seconds of the Hypercar/LMP2 session.
Completing the top five were the No. 22 United Autosports entry (which was involved in a collision at Les Combes when Filipe Albuquerque tapped the Inter Europol example into a spin), No. 9 Prema and No. 41 Realteam by WRT ORECAs.
“It was a really intense session — with my first set of tires I made a mistake which compromised my lap, so I took new tires and made the most of it,” Rovera explained. “The team did an amazing job with this car,”
Gianmaria Bruni stole the show in GTE Pro, the Italian snatching class pole at the last moment from his teammate Michael Christensen in the sister Porsche. The Italian’s best time was a 2m14.301s, almost two tenths up on the rest of the field in the No. 91 911 RSR 19.
“It was perfect — one lap is enough in qualifying and he made it exciting doing it on his last lap,” said Bruni’s co-driver in the No. 91, Richard Lietz.
Before Bruni’s final flyer, Christensen had looked set to take pole but the Dane missed out despite improving his best time late in the session.
Corvette Racing’s C8.R will start third in the class tomorrow after a strong performance from Nick Tandy to get within 0.3s of the pole time. AF Corse, meanwhile, heads into Saturday with its drivers scratching their heads after ending up 0.8s and 1.1s off the pace respectively. The Italian Ferrari outfit’s fortunes, at least to this point, don’t appear to have changed after an underwhelming weekend at Sebring.
In Am, Ben Keating, like Bruni, took pole on his final flying lap in the No. 33 TF Sport Aston Martin. Keating’s best tour of the new-look Spa surface was a 2m17.408s — over a second quicker than the No. 98 Northwest Aston Martin Racing Vantage of Paul Dalla Lana, which will start second. Brendan Iribe took third in the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche, and Satoshi Hoshino made it three Aston Martins in the top four for D’Startion.
UP NEXT: Saturday’s FIA WEC 6 Hours of Spa is set to get underway at 1:00 p.m. local time. TV coverage is available via MotorTrend in the U.S.