Porsche Penske’s Matt Campbell secures pole for Qatar 1812km

Porsche Penske's Matt Campbell secures pole for Qatar 1812km

Porsche Penske Motorsport’s #5 963 will start tomorrow’s 2024 WEC season-opening Qatar 1812km from pole position after Matt Campbell posted a blistering lap time of 1:39.347 in the first-ever 2024 Hyperpole qualifying session.

Matt Campbell edged Toyota driver Nyck de Vries to take Porsche Penske Motorsport’s first-ever pole position in the FIA World Endurance Championship following a Hyperpole battle that was held ahead of Saturday’s season-opening Qatar 1812km race.

The two drivers traded the benchmark time up to the very end of the heated Hyperpole session which is part of a modified qualifying procedure that was implemented this season.

The top ten cars from initial qualifying advanced to Hyperpole under the new format, which split racing into two sessions. The rest of the runners were eliminated, and their grid positions were determined.

De Vries finished his stint with a 1m39.511s while driving the #7 Toyota GR010 HYBRID Le Mans Hypercar as the Japanese manufacturer tries to make up for its underwhelming performance in the pre-season Prologue test earlier this week.

Callum Ilott placed third with a time of 1m39.622s, which momentarily held the record for the fastest time set by the #12 Jota Porsche.

Antonio Fuoco finished fourth for Ferrari at the wheel of the #50 499P LMH with a time of 1m39.976s, only five hundredths faster than Kevin Estre’s time aboard the second Porsche Penske Motorsport entry.

Peugeot completed the top six with a 1m40.067s from Jean-Eric Vergne in the #93 9X8 LMH. Meanwhile, Cadillac fell short of expectations with Alex Lynn finishing seventh in 1m40.103s.

Antonio Giovinazzi finished eighth in the second AF-Corse Ferrari while Jenson Button finished ninth in the #38 Jota Porsche as Stoffel Vandoorne finished tenth in the #94 Peugeot. As qualifying was coming to a finish, Brendon Hartley who was driving the #8 Toyota was knocked out of the top 10.

Newcomers to the hypercar competition; Alpine, BMW, Lamborghini, and Isotta Fraschini were also unable to advance into the Hyperpole session.

Tom van Rompuy, driving the No. 81 TF Sport Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R, topped qualifying and secured the first-ever pole position of the new LMGT3 category. The Belgian driver crushed Alex Malykhin’s No. 92 Manthey PureRxcing Porsche 911 GT3 R by 0.807 seconds with a lap time of 1:54.372.

Corvette’s new-for-2024 GT3 challenger secured the first pole position in just its second race after making its debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

Thomas Flohr, driving the No. 54 Vista AF Corse Ferrari 296 GT3, finished third, barely 0.003 seconds slower. The remaining top five spots were filled by Aston Martin entries, with Clement Mateu of D’station Racing finishing fourth and Ian James of The Heart of Racing just behind him.

Sarah Bovy driving the No. 85 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 saw Iron Dames finish sixth, ahead of James Cottingham and Josh Caygill’s United Autosports McLaren 720S GT3 Evos.

WRT’s Ahmed Al Harthy and AF Corse’s Francois Heriau  rounded out the top ten. The No. 46 BMW M4 GT3 barely qualified for Hyperpole after completing a fast lap at the very last opportunity during the initial qualifying session.

This meant that Hiroshi Koizumi’s second TF Sport Corvette was out, along with Yasser Shahin and Darren Leung’s No. 31 BMW. The two Akkodis ASP Team Lexus RC F GT3s and the two Proton Competition Ford Mustang GT3s were among other noteworthy eliminations; they were both unable to advance to Hyperpole.

The ten-hour Qatar 1812km will start at 11 a.m. local time (3 a.m. ET) on Saturday.

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