Antonio Fuoco set what turned out to be the benchmark time of 1m45.067s at the wheel of the quicker of the two brand-new Ferrari 499P Le Mans Hypercars, which are making their race debut this weekend.
Fuoco’s lap in the #50 car, which he shares with Miguel Molina and Nicklas Nielsen, knocked the #8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid of Brendon Hartley off provisional pole to the tune of almost three tenths of a second.
Hartley was able to shave almost a tenth off his best time to get down to a 1m45.281s, but Toyota had to admit defeat as the tyres went past their peak in the closing stages of the 15-minute Hypercar session.
Kamui Kobayashi was third-fastest in the #7 Toyota, 0.481s away from pole, ahead of the #51 Ferrari in which Alessandro Pier Guidi was eight tenths off the pace with a minor off at Turn 7.
Cadillac secured fifth on the grid with its solo Chip Ganassi Racing-run V.Series.R, Alex Lynn beating the two Porsche 963s to the honour of top LMDh runner.
Lynn spent the first part of the session in the pits with an apparent issue but managed to return to the track with six minutes remaining to set a 1m46.082s, which was over a second quicker than either Kevin Estre or Michael Christensen managed in their Porsches.
Peugeot was a disappointing eighth and ninth with its two 9X8 LMHs, the faster of which was 2.3s off the pace with Loic Duval at the wheel.
The sister #93 car of Mikkel Jensen briefly stopped on track at the start of the session before resuming.
Glickenhaus and Vanwall rounded out the 11-car Hypercar field, both over four seconds off the pace.
United Autosports, Iron Dames get class poles
Oliver Jarvis bagged LMP2 pole for United Autosports in the #23 ORECA 07-Gibson he shares with Tom Blomqvist and Josh Pierson.
A best time of 1m49.974s from Jarvis was enough to overhaul JOTA’s full-season #28 ORECA of Pietro Fittipaldi by 0.093s.
The 12-car field was split between those cars that opted to change tyres midway through the 15-minute session and those that didn’t, but the top two runners fell in the latter category.
WRT opted for mid-session pitstops for both cars, with the faster #31 car of Robin Frijns coming third ahead of the lead Alpine entry, the #36 car of Matthieu Vaxiviere, which likewise opted for a tyre change.
JOTA’s #48 car, which is running at Sebring in place of the team’s yet-to-be delivered Porsche 963, was fifth-fastest in the hands of Yifei Ye.
In GTE Am, the first pole of the new season went the way of the #85 Iron Dames Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Sarah Bovy, Rahel Frey and Michelle Gatting.
#85 Iron Dames Porsche 911 RSR – 19: Sarah Bovy, Michelle Gatting, Rahel Frey
Photo by: Porsche Motorsport
Bovy came out on top in an entertaining tussle with Corvette Racing’s Ben Keating with a best lap of 1m58.949s, which was enough to beat the only C8.R in the field by 0.396s.
Third-fastest was the #25 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage of Ahmad Al Harthy, while Luis Perez Companc ensured all four manufacturers were represented in the top four in the #83 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE.
The Sebring 1000 Miles starts on Friday at 12pm local time (GMT -5).