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Spa WEC: Rebellion beats the Toyotas to pole

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Rebellion took pole position for this weekend's Spa round of the FIA World Endurance Championship as the Swiss entrant continued its domination of the event.

Gustavo Menezes and Norman Nato were fastest on their respective runs aboard the #1 Rebellion R-13, ending up with an average eight tenths clear of best of the Toyota TS050 Hybrids.

Menezes set the fastest time of the session with a 1m59.342s, which Nato followed up with a 1m59.813s on the same set of Michelin tyres.

That gave then a 1m59.577s average, which compared with 2m00.417s for #8 Toyota drivers Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley. 

Menezes said: "On paper it looks like we've had the perfect weekend, but we've never had a good balance with the car. We had to make quite a few changes before qualifying, but now the car is there."

Nakajima posted a 1m59.628s on the first run to outpace Mike Conway in the #7 Toyota, who ended up more than a second down on a 2m00.762s. 

The two Toyotas stayed on the same tyres for the second runs, Hartley's 2m01.206s giving him an advantage of one tenth over Kamui Kobayashi. 

The Japanese driver's 2m01.378s gave him and Conway a 2m01.070s average in the #7 car. 

The ByKolles team's ENSO CLM P1/01 ended up with a 2m01.589s average in the hands of Oliver Webb and Tom Dillmann to take fourth.

The United Autosports squad led the way in LMP2 with its solo Oreca 07. Paul di Resta was quickest on a 2m01.888s during the opening runs, which Phil Hanson followed up with a 2m02.409s.

Their 2m02.148s average put them more than a second and a half up on the JOTA Sport Oreca of Anthony Davidson and Roberto Gonzalez, who ended up on 2m03.956s. 

Nicolas Lapierre and Antonin Borga took third aboard the Cool Racing Oreca, a further three tenths back. 

The Racing Team Nederland Oreca ended up at the back of the P2 field after a succession of laps lost to track- limit violations by Giedo van der Garde and Job van Uitert. Van Uitert did not manage to post a valid lap time as a result. 

Porsche duo Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre dominated qualifying to claim provisional GTE Pro pole by nearly half a second, only to be dropped to the back of the grid for a track limits infringement. 

The reigning class world champions were fastest on their respective runs, setting times only three hundredths apart aboard their #92 Porsche 911 RSR-19.

Christensen posted a 2m14.223s to beat Aston Martin driver Maxime Martin's 2m14.406s by two tenths. 

Estre followed it up with the fastest lap of the session, a 2m14.191s that put him six tenths up the 2m14.767s from Aston Martin driver Marco Sorensen. 

That gave the Porsche drivers a 2m14.207s average, which put them clear of the two Aston Vantage GTEs. But Estre's lap was subsequently adjudged to have violated track limits, the loss of the time dropping them to the back of the field. 

Alex Lynn's 2m14.865s in the #97 Aston he shares with Martin was just enough to stay ahead of their teammates and inherit the pole when Estre's time was scrubbed out.

Martin and Lynn ended up on 2m14.635s average, Sorensen and Nicki Thiim 2m14.643s.

Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz took fourth in class in the #91 Porsche with a 2m14.923s average. That was more than four tenths up on the best of the two AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTEs that filled the final two spots in the GTE Pro order. 

Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina ended up just clear of teammates Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado in the #71 488 GTE, though both Ferraris were more than a second down on Christensen and Estre's initial average. 

Matt Campbell and Christian Ried claimed GTE Am pole aboard their #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche 911 RSR with a 2m16.519s average, more than a tenth up on #56 Project 1 Porsche pairing of Matteo Cairoli and Egidio Perfetti.

Prototype qualifying:

Cla # Drivers Car Class Avg Time Gap
1 1 Brazil Bruno Senna
United States Gustavo Menezes
France Norman Nato
Rebellion R13 LMP1 1'59.577
2 8 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi
Japan Kazuki Nakajima
New Zealand Brendon Hartley
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 2'00.417 0.840
3 7 United Kingdom Mike Conway
Japan Kamui Kobayashi
Argentina Jose Maria Lopez
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 2'01.070 1.493
4 4 France Tom Dillmann
Canada Bruno Spengler
United Kingdom Oliver Webb
ENSO CLM P1/01 LMP1 2'01.907 2.330
5 22 United Kingdom Philip Hanson
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
United Kingdom Paul di Resta
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'02.148 2.571
6 38 Mexico Roberto Gonzalez
Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa
United Kingdom Anthony Davidson
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'03.697 4.120
7 42 France Nicolas Lapierre
Switzerland Antonin Borga
Switzerland Alexandre Coigny
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'03.956 4.379
8 37 China Ho-Pin Tung
Ireland Ryan Cullen
United Kingdom Will Stevens
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'04.198 4.621
9 36 France Thomas Laurent
Brazil Andre Negrao
France Pierre Ragues
Alpine A470 LMP2 2'04.235 4.658
10 33 United States Mark Patterson
Japan Kenta Yamashita
Denmark Anders Fjordbach
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'04.710 5.133
11 47 Italy Roberto Lacorte
Italy Andrea Belicchi
Italy Giorgio Sernagiotto
Dallara P217 LMP2 2'05.547 5.970
12 35 Japan Nobuya Yamanaka
Australia Nick Foster Jr.
Spain Roberto Merhi
Ligier JSP 217 LMP2 2'18.997 19.420
13 29 Netherlands Frits van Eerd
Netherlands Giedo van der Garde
Netherlands Job Van Uitert
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'02.744 3.167

GTE qualifying:

Cla # Drivers Car Class Avg Time Gap
1 97 United Kingdom Alex Lynn
Belgium Maxime Martin
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 2'14.635
2 95 Denmark Marco Sorensen
Denmark Nicki Thiim
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 2'14.643 0.008
3 91 Italy Gianmaria Bruni
Austria Richard Lietz
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 2'14.923 0.288
4 71 Italy Davide Rigon
Spain Miguel Molina
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 2'15.356 0.721
5 51 United Kingdom James Calado
Italy Alessandro Pier Guidi
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 2'15.383 0.748
6 77 Germany Christian Ried
Italy Riccardo Pera
Australia Matt Campbell
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'16.519 1.884
7 56 Norway Egidio Perfetti
Germany Laurents Hörr
Italy Matteo Cairoli
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'16.649 2.014
8 57 United States Ben Keating
Brazil Felipe Fraga
Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'17.145 2.510
9 98 Canada Paul Dalla Lana
Brazil Augusto Farfus
United Kingdom Ross Gunn
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 2'17.563 2.928
10 83 France François Perrodo
France Emmanuel Collard
Denmark Nicklas Nielsen
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'17.593 2.958
11 90 Turkey Salih Yoluc
Ireland Charles Eastwood
United Kingdom Jonathan Adam
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 2'17.658 3.023
12 54 Switzerland Thomas Flohr
Italy Francesco Castellacci
Italy Giancarlo Fisichella
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'18.314 3.679
13 88 Italy Gianluca Giraudi
Mexico Ricardo Sanchez
Switzerland Lucas Legeret
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'18.841 4.206
14 62 United Kingdom Bonamy Grimes
United Kingdom Johnny Mowlem
United Kingdom Charles Hollings
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'18.945 4.310
15 86 United Kingdom Michael Wainwright
United Kingdom Andrew Watson
United Kingdom Benjamin Barker
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'18.947 4.312
16 92 Denmark Michael Christensen
France Kevin Estre
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 2'14.223
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Series WEC
Event Spa-Francorchamps
Author Gary Watkins