Defending American Le Mans Series LMP2 class champions Level 5 Motorsports picked up where they left off in 2012, with Ryan Briscoe and Ryan Hunter-Reay qualifying their HPD ARX-03bs first and second, respectively Friday at Sebring International Raceway in preparation for Saturday’s 61st 12 Hours of Sebring.

P2 pole winner Ryan Briscoe celebrates
P2 pole winner Ryan Briscoe celebrates

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

In LMP1, defending class champion Muscle Milk/Pickett Racing will start fourth, after a tight qualifying battle with the Rebellion Racing Lolas of Nick Heidfeld and Andea Belicchi.

After fending off a challenge from the Greaves Motorsports Zytek-Nissan of Tom Kimber-Smith in the first half of the single qualifying session, the LMP2 battle came down to a duel between teammates, with Briscoe edging the second Level 5 HPD ARX-03b by 12-hundredths of a second in the final five minutes.

The 61st running of the 12 Hours of Sebring starts tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. EDT, with live television coverage on Speed and on the internet at ALMS (.com) website.

Ryan Briscoe (driver, #551 Level 5 Racing HPD ARX-03b) qualified on LMP2 class pole, 7th overall: "This feels great, it’s awesome to be back here at Sebring.

All the guys at HPD, Honda and Level 5 have been working extremely hard since we got here, and we have a great car for the race. Qualifying was really close with Ryan [Hunter-Reay].

We always ran really close in IndyCars, and it’s carried over to here. I love these cars and this track, and I’m really happy for the team for us to be starting 1-2.”

ALMS