The qualifying for the opening round of the Asian Le Mans Series 2019/20 was run at the Shanghai International Circuit in China.
A good field of 9 GT cars were the first on track, for their 15 minutes of qualifying.
Spirit Of Race Ferrari #51 didn’t go on track instantly, but Alessandro Pier Guidi left the pits with just under 8 minutes to go instead.
With more or less works drivers in all cars, it was a fantastic fight between the cars, with times constantly tumbling. HubAuto Corse Ferrari #27 and D’Station Racing Aston Martin #77 were the two leading cars for long, while FIST Team AAI BMW #90, JLOC Lamborghini #88, Car Guy Ferrari #7, Astro Veloce Motorsports BMW #17, and T2 Motorsports Ferrari #75 were split by just a few tenths, if not thousands of a second.
The majority of the teams pitted for new tires, to give it another shot.
But Davide Rigon, Marcos Gomes and Morris Chen took Pole Position in the HubAuto Corse Ferrari #27, ahead of Spirit Of Race Ferrari #51 with Alessandro Pier Guidi, Ozz Negri Jr and Francesco Piovanetti, while D’Station Racing Aston Martin #77 with Ross Gunn, Satoshi Hoshino and Tomonobu Fuji were P3. Rigon, Pier Guidi and Gunn were the qualifying drivers.
Then all the LMP cars got their 15 minutes of qualifying.
Even though it was overcast, the track was thankfully dry again, after some rain earlier in the day.
With 15 out of 17 LMP cars on track at the same time, there was quite a few blocks of track every now and then.
Rick Ware Racing didn’t make it on track for the session with their two Ligier JS P2 cars, since their containers with equipment had been delayed. They are still hoping to be on track tomorrow, but that will be without running any kinds of laps with any of their cars.
G-Drive Racing by Algarve #26 was the first LMP2 car to post a fast lap, ahead of Thunderhead Carlin Racing #45. There were however both surpassed by Eurasia Motorsport #36, which did an extra lap, before they posted that time.
ARC Bratislava #4 and RLR MSport #59 had a close fight in LMP2 Am, where Kang Ling and Arjun Maini swapped fastest times. #59 did however have a bit of an issue with Track Limits, so Maini wasn’t allowed to keep his times for too long a duration, before they were deleted again – over and over again.
Defending LMP3 Champions Inter Europol Competition #13 posted the initial fastest lap, ahead of Nielsen Racing #3 and Graff #9 – well known names from the European Le Mans Series.
Most teams pitted for new tires, giving it another shot.
That did move some of the positions, but Eurasia Motorsport #36 with Roberto Merhi, Nick Foster and Aidan Read held onto Pole Position, ahead of Thunderhead Carlin Racing #45 with Harry Tincknell, Jack Manchester and Ben Barnicoat, while G-Drive Racing by Algarve #26 with Roman Rusinov, James French and Leonard Hoogenboom were P3. Merhi, Tincknell and Rusinov were the three drivers posting the times.
LMP2 Am Pole went to ARC Bratislava #4 with Kang Ling, Miro Konopka and Andreas Laskaratos, ahead of RLR MSport #59 with John Farano, Andrew Higgins and Arjun Maini.
Nielsen Racing #3 with Garett Grist, Rob Hodes and Charles Crews grabbed Pole Position on their very final lap, while Inter Europol Competition #13 with Martin Hippe and Nigel Moore had to settle for second, and Nielsen Racing #2 with Colin Noble and Tony Wells in third. Grist, Moore and Noble were the three qualifying drivers.
We could be in for 4 hours of great racing tomorrow, with quite an early start of 2.15 CET, with the race being streamed via YouTube. The first 30 minutes are pre-show, before the green flag flies 2.45 CET.