Bernhard lucks into LMP2 class pole

The Sascha Maassen/Ryan Briscoe/Emmanuel Collard Porsche RS Spyder (pictured right), prepared by Penske Motorsports, went fast enough to grab the class pole, but that lap was disallowed as Maassen was detected on the course with his headlights off, a violation of International Motor Sports Association rules. By the time Maassen got back on the track to try to regain his position, he ran into track traffic and could only secure a sixth position on the grid.

Therefore, Timo Bernhard, from Hamburg, Germany, captured the LMP2 class pole position and set a class qualifying record for Saturday's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in his #7 Porsche RS Spyder prepared by Penske Motorsport.

Bernhard, whose RS Spyder victories last year included an overall win at Mid-Ohio last year with co-driver Romain Dumas, will share the driving duties this year with Dumas and former Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves. It was his ninth pole position in the American Le Mans Series – the first eight were in the GT2 class in a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. He broke the LMP2 class qualifying record by more than 1.7 seconds.

"The car was really perfect, but I waited a long time to get a clear lap. When I finally did, the first one was very good. The race will be a tough one with all the competition from the other Porsche teams and the three Acuras," said Bernhard.

Third on the grid behind one of the Acuras is the #16 Dyson Racing Porsche RS Spyder qualified by Andy Wallace, who will be co-driving with Butch Leitzinger and Andy Lally on Saturday. It is the first race for the Dyson team with its RS Spyders, with the #20 Dyson Racing RS Spyder of Chris Dyson/Guy Smith fifth in class behind the second Acura.

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