Porsche 911 RSR On GTLM Pole At Sebring
Michael Christensen may not yet be a household name among U.S. sports car fans, but the 23-year-old Dane fully intends on changing that this season with a full-time TUDOR United SportsCar Championship ride for Porsche North America. If Friday’s qualifying for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida is any indication, he’s not wasting any time, setting the fastest time in his No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR with a lap of one minute, 58.933 seconds (113.207 mph) in the always-competitive GT Le Mans (GTLM) class.
Saturday’s race serves as both the second round of the TUDOR Championship and the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup. The event begins at 10:15 a.m. ET. Live FOX Sports 1 coverage runs from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., with the remainder of the event streamed live on www.imsa.com.
It was Christensen’s first qualifying attempt as a Porsche factory driver after being named to the manufacturer’s prestigious lineup in November.
“It’s the first time for me here (at Sebring) and the first time on the pole,” Christensen said. “We just need to drive as hard as possible. When the class is close like this, it’s going to be a long, long race. You have to keep a cool head as a driver and work well as a team over the wall.”
Porsche is off to a hot start in 2014 after winning the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona in the team’s No. 911 911 RSR, but if it wants to close out the prestigious Daytona-Sebring double, it will have to fend off tough competition from BMW and Chevrolet.
Dirk Mueller just missed the top spot in the No. 56 BMW Z4 GTE with a lap of 1:59.024 (113.120 mph) while BMW teammate Bill Auberlen qualified third in the team’s No. 55 BMW Z4 GTE at 1:59.094 (113.054 mph).
Corvette Racing took the next two positions, followed by the Daytona-winning Porsche and the Risi Competizione Ferrari as the top six positions were separated by a mere 0.315 seconds.
Oliver Gavin qualified fourth with a lap of 1:59.222 (112.932 mph) in the No. 4 Corvette C7R co-driven by Tommy Milner and Robin Liddell, followed by teammate Antonio Garcia in the team’s No. 3 entry co-driven by Jan Magnussen and Ryan Briscoe, running 1:59.224 (112.930).
Richard Lietz was sixth in the class in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR he shares with Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet, running 1:59.248 (112.908 mph).
While the No. 62 Ferrari 458 Italia was fastest in Thursday’s practice, the car was involved in a Friday morning incident. The team was able to repair the vehicle in time for qualifying, with Gianmaria Bruni clocking in seventh fastest with a lap of 1:59.890 (112.303 mph) in the car he co-drives with Matteo Malucelli and Giancarlo Fisichella.