WEC: Lapierre puts Alpine on pole for 1,000 miles of Sebring

The first qualifying session of the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship season ended with the Alpine A480 driven by Nicolas Lapierre securing pole position for tomorrow’s 1000 Miles of Sebring.

The Alpine squad delivered on the promise that its car had shown in the Prologue tests and Free Practice sessions to set far and away the fastest WEC lap yet seen on the historic 6.019km Sebring International Raceway with a time of 1m47.407s.

Lapierre’s pole time was more than 1.3 seconds faster than Alpine’s nearest rival, the Glickenhaus 007 being qualified by Olivier Pla. Starting in third place will be the fastest of the LMP2 contenders, the Oreca 07-Gibson of AF Corse that was driven by Nicklas Nielsen.

“I was quite surprised actually that I was able to go that much quicker, but the car felt super nice and I was able to extract good pace,” said Lapierre, who will share the car with Matthieu Vaxivière and André Negrão on race day.

“The track conditions are changing a lot day to day so it is a nice challenge to find a good balance. The team gave us a great car and we have worked hard for this pole position so we are really very happy and looking forward to the race tomorrow now.”

The defending WEC champions in the number 7 Toyota GR010-Hybrid hypercar, with José María Lopez at the wheel, could muster only fourth fastest. The Japanese team’s best effort was just over two seconds away from Lapierre’s benchmark and the team, which never finished off the podium in 2021, will start the race with both LMP2 entries of United Autosports USA snapping at its heels.

“It was a clean lap,” Lapierre said. “The conditions were different tonight but the setup changes we made worked. We have a great line up, a good team, here it’s difficult and with heat and traffic it’s going to be tough, but I am looking for it.

“Now we have to focus on doing the job tomorrow.”

To the surprise of many trackside, a Toyota GR010 HYBRID will not feature on the front-row, or even the top three for tomorrow’s race. Instead, Glickenhaus’ 007 LMH will line up alongside the Alpine after a strong performance from Olivier Pla, who pushed hard and set a best time of 1:48.741 for the US-flagged outfit.

#8 Toyota 1000 Miles of Sebring, Sebring, Florida, USA16-18 March 2022

With Toyota struggling to find outright speed, the best of the LMP2 runners ended up third. Danish ace Nicklas Nielsen pushed the leading GR010 to fourth on the grid, with a blistering 1:49.014 to take pole position in LMP2 for AF Corse right at the end of the session.

Brendon Hartley was the fastest of the two Toyota drivers in the session, putting the #8 fourth on the grid with a time 1.8 seconds off pole. The sister #7 will start a somewhat disappointing seventh.

United Autosports completed the top three in LMP2 and split the Toyotas, with Filipe Albuquerque in the #22 setting a best time of 1:49.388 to go fifth, two tenths up on Paul Di Resta in the #23. WRT and Realteam By WRT rounded out the top five in the class after hot laps from Rene Rast and Ferdinand Habsburg respectively.

The biggest incident of the session came from an LMP2 runner, Fabio Scherer bringing the LMH/LMP2 session to a premature end with a big off at Turn 1 in the Inter Europol ORECA. The 07 looked to have sustained significant damage from the impact, though thankfully Scherer was seen walking away.

The Porsche GT Team has locked out the first grid row with the two 911 RSR for the season-opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship WEC. Works driver Michael Christensen turned the fastest qualifying lap in the GTE-Pro class for the 1,000-mile race on the Sebring International Raceway in the US state of Florida. The ca. 378 kW (515 PS) Porsche 911 RSR remains unbeaten after topping the timesheets in a WEC final qualifying session for the tenth time in a row. Christensen shares the No. 91 nine-eleven racer with Frenchman Kévin Estre. In the No. 91 sister car, Gianmaria Bruni posted the second quickest time just 0.15 seconds off the polesitter. This season, the Italian again joins forces with Richard Lietz from Austria. In the GTE-Am class, the American Brendan Iribe set the best time, planting the 911 RSR fielded by the Project 1 team on the third grid spot.

“A perfect start to the season!” says a delighted Alexander Stehlig, Director Factory Motorsport FIA WEC. “We’re on the front row with both cars, the two 911 RSR were at exactly the same level. We were already pretty thrilled in the practice sessions. We finally worked out a perfect setup in the third free practice – that was an important step. With a view to tomorrow’s race, there can only be one objective: we want to win.”

“I am fully confident of Michael. He always delivers when it counts, he did a great lap, it was good enough for pole. I always like to start on pole. We see the Corvette there, and the Ferrari we know they will be there at some point.” Christensen’s teammate Kevin Estre said after the session.

Corvette Racing’s C8.R will start behind the two Porsches, thanks to a 1:57.696 from team debutant Nick Tandy. AF Corse meanwhile, continued to struggle for outright pace after failing to challenge Porsche or Corvette during the practice sessions. James Calado and Antonio Fuoco were tasked with battling for pole, but neither could get within two seconds of the pole time. Instead, the #51 will start P5, with the #52 P6.

#64 CORVETTE RACING / Chevrolet Corvette C8.R

In the LMGTE Am class it was the Aston Martin Vantage AMR of TF Sport qualified by Ben Keating that set the pace, while the similar car of Northwest AMR completing another class lock-out. Team Project 1 claimed third place with its Porsche and the all-female Iron Dames team will start fourth in the 12-car field of contenders in the category.

Paul Dalla Lana made it a 1-2 for Aston Martin, with a 2:00.570, the Canadian another one of the Bronze drivers to put in a strong performance in the short 10-minute shootout.

Brendan Iribe ended up third in Am in the #56 Team Project 1 Porsche, after sitting atop the times early in the session before red flags were brought out for an off for Nicolas Leutwiler in the sister Project 1 Porsche. The 911 ending up suffering rear-end damage as a result and didn’t rejoin the session.

The 2022 FIA WEC 1000 Miles of Sebring is set to get underway at Noon Friday, the cars running into the darkness.

The Headlines from Qualifying at Sebring:


  • A 1m47.407s lap from Nico Lapierre was enough to take a clear pole for the opening round of the 2022 WEC campaign
  • Lapierre goes almost a second quicker than his first effort in the session and is huge 1.3s ahead of opposition
  • Olivier Pla puts Glickenhaus second on the grid with a time of 1m48.741s
  • No.8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid places third and No.7 Toyota fourth as Brendan Hartley and Jose-Maria Lopez set times


  • Michael Christensen takes thrilling LMGTE Pro pole position with a last lap effort of 1m57.233s in the No.92 Porsche 911 RSR
  • Gimmi Bruni is beaten by just 0.150s as Porsche take clear 1-2 for first round of season
  • Corvette Racing third as Nick Tandy posts a 1m55.696s in Chevrolet Corvette C8.R
  • AF Corse Ferraris place in fourth and fifth in LMGTE Pro as No.51 488 GTE Evo heads No.52 with James Calado and Antonio Fuoco setting times respectively
Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche GT Team (#92), Kevin Estre (F), Michael Christensen (DK)


  • Nicklas Nielsen takes surprise debut pole position in LMP2 for AF Corse as Dane sets 1m49.014s
  • Filipe Albuquerque places second in No.22 United Autosports USA machine with a lap of 1m49.388s
  • No.23 United Autosports USA starts third in LMP2 as Paul di Resta sets peak time with a 1m49.510s
  • Fabio Scherer crashes the No.34 Inter Europol entry to bring out red flag and curtail session
#83 AF CORSE / Oreca 07 – Gibson


  • No.33 TF Sport grabs pole position as Ben Keating peaks with a 1m59.204s in Aston Martin Vantage
  • Aston Martin celebrate 1-2 as No.98 Northwest AMR entry driven by Paul Dalla Lana starts from class front row with a best of 2m00.583s
  • No.56 Project 1 Porsche places third as Brendan Iribe lays down lap of 2m00.649s
  • No.46 Team Project 1 Porsche causes early red flag after crashing at Turn 8

Qualifying Results

Pos Class No. Drivers Car Time Behind
1 HYPERCAR 36 Andre Negrao/Nicolas Lapierre/Matthieu Vaxiviere Alpine A480 1’47.407 0.000s
2 HYPERCAR 708 Olivier Pla/Romain Dumas/Ryan Briscoe Glickenhaus 007 LMH 1’48.741 1.334
3 LMP2 83 François Perrodo/Nicklas Nielsen/Alessio Rovera Oreca 07 1’49.014 1.607
4 HYPERCAR 8 Sébastien Buemi/Brendon Hartley/Ryo Hirakawa Toyota GR010 – Hybrid 1’49.217 1.810
5 LMP2 22 Philip Hanson/Filipe Albuquerque/Will Owen Oreca 07 1’49.388 1.981
6 LMP2 23 Paul di Resta/Oliver Jarvis/Josh Pierson Oreca 07 1’49.510 2.103
7 HYPERCAR 7 Mike Conway/Kamui Kobayashi/Jose Maria Lopez Toyota GR010 – Hybrid 1’49.581 2.174
8 LMP2 31 Sean Gelael/Robin Frijns/René Rast Oreca 07 1’49.670 2.263
9 LMP2 41 Rui Andrade/Ferdinand Habsburg/Norman Nato Oreca 07 1’49.688 2.281
10 LMP2 9 Robert Kubica/Louis Deletraz/Lorenzo Colombo Oreca 07 1’50.057 2.650
11 LMP2 28 Oliver Rasmussen/Ed Jones/Jonathan Aberdein Oreca 07 1’50.178 2.771
12 LMP2 38 Roberto Gonzalez/Antonio Felix da Costa/Will Stevens Oreca 07 1’50.596 3.189
13 LMP2 5 Dane Cameron/Emmanuel Collard/Felipe Nasr Oreca 07 1’50.629 3.222
14 LMP2 1 Lilou Wadoux/Sébastien Ogier/Charles Milesi Oreca 07 1’50.916 3.509
15 LMP2 35 Jean Baptiste Lahaye/Matthieu Lahaye/François Heriau Oreca 07 1’50.954 3.547
16 LMP2 10 Nico Müller/Ryan Cullen/Mike Rockenfeller Oreca 07 1’50.955 3.548
17 LMP2 44 Miro Konopka/Mathias Beche/Tijmen van der Helm Oreca 07 1’51.182 3.775
18 LMP2 45 Steven Thomas/James Allen/Rene Binder Oreca 07 1’51.332 3.925
19 LMP2 34 Jakub Smiechowski/Fabio Scherer/Esteban Gutierrez Oreca 07 1’51.872 4.465
20 LMGTE PRO 92 Michael Christensen/Kevin Estre Porsche 911 RSR – 19 1’57.233
21 LMGTE PRO 91 Gianmaria Bruni/Richard Lietz Porsche 911 RSR – 19 1’57.383 0.150
22 LMGTE PRO 64 Tommy Milner/Nick Tandy Chevrolet Corvette C8.R 1’57.696 0.463
23 LMGTE AM 33 Ben Keating/Florian Latorre/Marco Sorensen Aston Martin Vantage AMR 1’59.204 1.971
24 LMGTE PRO 51 Alessandro Pier Guidi/James Calado Ferrari 488 GTE EVO 1’59.299 2.066
25 LMGTE PRO 52 Miguel Molina/Antonio Fuoco Ferrari 488 GTE EVO 1’59.388 2.155
26 LMGTE AM 98 Paul Dalla Lana/David Pittard/Nicki Thiim Aston Martin Vantage AMR 2’00.570 3.337
27 LMGTE AM 56 Brendan Iribe/Ollie Millroy/Ben Barnicoat Porsche 911 RSR – 19 2’00.649 3.416
28 LMGTE AM 85 Rahel Frey/Michelle Gatting/Sarah Bovy Ferrari 488 GTE EVO 2’01.140 3.907
29 LMGTE AM 777 Satoshi Hoshino/Tomonobu Fujii/Charlie Fagg Aston Martin Vantage AMR 2’01.379 4.146
30 LMGTE AM 77 Christian Ried/Sebastian Priaulx/Harry Tincknell Porsche 911 RSR – 19 2’02.079 4.846
31 LMGTE AM 54 Thomas Flohr/Francesco Castellacci/Nick Cassidy Ferrari 488 GTE EVO 2’02.264 5.031
32 LMGTE AM 71 Franck Dezoteux/Pierre Ragues/Gabriel Aubry Ferrari 488 GTE EVO 2’02.800 5.567
33 LMGTE AM 21 Simon Mann/Christoph Ulrich/Toni Vilander Ferrari 488 GTE EVO 2’03.116 5.883
34 LMGTE AM 88 Fred Poordad/Patrick Lindsey/Julien Andlauer Porsche 911 RSR – 19 2’03.560 6.327
35 LMGTE AM 60 Claudio Schiavoni/Matteo Cressoni/Giancarlo Fisichella Ferrari 488 GTE EVO 2’03.726 6.493
36 LMGTE AM 46 Matteo Cairoli/Mikkel Pedersen/Nicolas Leutwiler Porsche 911 RSR – 19 No Time No Time


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