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Sep 20

American Le Mans Series Circuit of The Americas qualifying : Rain no problem for Luhr, Franchitti in qualifying at Austin

Luhr captures 22nd career pole in first visit to new circuit

ALMSCompetitors in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón had two extra days of testing to learn the new Circuit of The Americas.

Friday, that work went down the drain, with official practice and qualifying held in rainy conditions at the 3.4-mile circuit in preparation for Saturday’s ALMS round of International Sports Car Weekend presented by Continental Tire.

Lucas Luhr captured his 22nd pole in P1 qualifying, running a lap of two minutes, 7.851 seconds (95.736 mph) in the No. 6 Pickett Racing Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03c. He and co-driver Klaus Graf – who have already wrapped up the P1 championship – will be seeking their sixth consecutive victory in Saturday’s two-hour, 45-minutes race that begins at 3:45 p.m. CT. 

Luhr was joined by Marino Franchitti and Renger van der Zande in winning pole positions for the prototype classes for the race, Round 7 of 10 on the 2013 schedule.

The changing conditions proved a challenge for Luhr, whose team did not participate in the optional testing earlier in the week.

“There was no constant rain, so the track was getting drier and drier,” Luhr said. “Then when the track dried out, it got very greasy and you ended up overheating the tires.”

Chris McMurry qualified second in the No. 16 Dyson Racing Mazda/Thetford/Norcold Lola B12/60, 2:12.837 (92.143 mph). Third in the class was Andy Meyrick, in the debut of the No. 0 DeltaWing DWC13 coupe with Katherine Legge, 2:15.845 (90.103 mph).

With his team fastest overall in both days of unofficial testing, Marino Franchitti continued the momentum for Level 5 Motorsports, taking his third pole of the season and seventh straight this season for the team with a lap of 2:10.573 (93.741 mph) in the No. 552 Siemens/Alpine Watches/Ohiya Casino Resort HPD ARX-03b.

Franchitti was also challenged by the changing conditions.

“You needed the wet tire, because it wasn’t dry enough for slicks,” Franchitti said. “But the wets were wearing down pretty quickly, and I was just hanging on.”

Extreme Speed Motorsports’ Johannes van Overbeek and Anthony Lazzaro took the next two positions in P2, with Level 5 Motorsports’ Ryan Briscoe losing his right-rear wheel at the beginning of the session and failing to post a qualifying time.

Van der Zande captured his first ALMS pole in Prototype Challenge presented by Continental Tire (PC) qualifying, turning a lap of 2:17.865 (88.783 mph) in the No. 81 DragonSpeed dress-for-less.com ORECA FLM09.

“We knew we had a very fast car in the wet,” van der Zande said. “But in the end the track started drying and a lot of people started getting close, so we kept pushing.”

Ryan Dalziel took second with a lap of 2.18.929 (88.103 mph) in the No. 5 Starworks Popow Motorsport entry, followed by Kyle Marcelli in the No. 8 BAR1 Motorsports ORECA, 2:19.782 (87.565 mph).

Hand Finds Wet Conditions Optimal For BMW At Austin

Luhr Captures 22nd Career Pole In First Visit To New Circuit

Joey Hand wasn’t quite satisfied with the handling of the No. 55 BMW Team RLL Crown Plaza BMW Z4 GTE after two days of testing at Circuit of The Americas for Saturday’s ALMS round of International Sports Car Weekend presented by Continental Tire.

His outlook changed Friday when conditions changed drastically, with rain soaking the 3.4-mile circuit. Hand went out in the wet and ran a lap of 2:17.178 (89.227 mph) to capture the GT pole for Saturday’s race.

“The rain really played to the strengths of our car and tire,” said Hand, who won his first pole of the season and sixth of his career. “Today was the first time I ever saw the Michelin rain tire. Wow! We had a lot of rear grip. We were not the quickest car in the dry, but it was really strong in the wet.”

While co-driver Bill Auberlen won two GRAND-AM races for BMW earlier this year in Austin, this was Hand’s first visit to the circuit that opened with the United States Grand Prix Formula One race last November.

“I’m definitely digging this track,” Hand said. “It’s definitely a driver’s track. I got to learn it during the two days of testing, but when I went out there for the first time in the rain today, it was ‘where do I go now?’ But I found that the wet line here is pretty straightforward.”

In GT class qualifying, Joey Hand won his sixth career pole and second straight for the No. 55 Team RLL Crown Plaza BMW Z4 GTE with a lap of 2:17.178. He will co-drive with Bill Auberlen, fastest qualifier in the class for the most recent race at Baltimore.

Corvette Racing took the next two positions. Antonio Garcia ran a lap of 2:17.442 (89.056 mph) in the No. 3 Compuware C6 ZR1, followed by the team’s No. 4 entry driven by Oliver Gavin, 2:17.594 (88.957). The second BMW Team RLL entry took fourth, with John Edwards running a lap of 2:18.002 (88.694 mph) in the No. 56.

In GTC, Damien Faulkner captured his first pole of the season and seventh of his career with a lap of 2:27.816 (82.806 mph) in the No. 66 TRG Port Lavaca Group/Viper Exchange/Adobe Road Winery Porsche 911.

“It was a bit of a mixed day,” said Faulkner, who will co-drive with Ben Keating. “Nobody knew if the session would go ahead. We knew we were fast in the dry. It was a matter of doing a clean lap, and I made the first lap count. Fortunately, it was enough to get the first pole of the season.”

Sean Edwards qualified second in the No. 30 NGT Motorsport/MOMO Porsche, 2:27.880 (82.770 mph), followed by three-time 2013 pole winner Jeroen Bleekemolen in the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche, 2:27.920 (82.747 mph).

Starting lineup for Saturday’s American Le Mans Series International Sports Car Weekend event at the 3.4-mile Circuit of The Americas. Lineup includes starting position, car number and class (in parentheses), drivers, car, time in seconds and speed in miles per hour.

1. (6-P1) Klaus Graf/Lucas Luhr, HPD ARX-03c, 2:07.851, 95.736 mph

2. (16-P1) Tony Burgess/Chris McMurry, Lola B12/60 Mazda, 2:12.837, 92.143

3. (0-P1) Katherine Legge/Andy Meyrick, DeltaWing LM12 Elan, 2:15.845, 90.103

4. (552-P2) Guy Cosmo/Marino Franchitti/Scott Tucker, HPD ARX-03b, 2:10.573, 93.741

5. (02-P2) Ed Brown/Johannes van Overbeek, HPD ARX-03b, 2:11.869, 92.819

6. (01-P2) Scott Sharp/Anthony Lazzaro, HPD ARX-03b, 2:12.100, 92.657

7. (551-P2) Scott Tucker/Ryan Briscoe, HPD ARX-03b, 0, 0

8. (81-PC) Renger van der Zande/Mirco Schultis, ORECA FLM09, 2:17.865,

88.783

9. (5-PC) Ryan Dalziel/John Pew, ORECA FLM09, 2:18.929, 88.103

10. (8-PC) Chris Cumming/Kyle Marcelli, ORECA FLM09, 2:19.782, 87.565

11. (9-PC) David Heinemeier Hansson/Bruno Junqueira, ORECA FLM09, 2:20.018, 87.417

12. (05-PC) Jonathan Bennett/Tom Kimber-Smith, ORECA FLM09, 2:20.340, 87.217

13. (52-PC) Mike Guasch/Dane Cameron, ORECA FLM09, 2:20.722, 86.980

14. (18-PC) Charlie Shears/Tristan Nunez, ORECA FLM09, 2:20.935, 86.849

15. (7-PC) Rusty Mitchell/Tomy Drissi, ORECA FLM09, 2:22.438, 85.932

16. (55-GT) Bill Auberlen/Joey Hand, BMW Z4 GTE, 2:17.178, 89.227

17. (3-GT) Antonio Garcia/Jan Magnussen, Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1, 2:17.442, 89.056

18. (4-GT) Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner, Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1, 2:17.594, 88.957

19. (56-GT) John Edwards/Dirk Mueller, BMW Z4 GTE, 2:18.002, 88.694

20. (06-GT) Colin Braun/Patrick Long, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 2:19.167, 87.952

21. (93-GT) Kuno Wittmer/Jonathan Bomarito, SRT Viper GTS-R Viper V-10, 2:19.246, 87.902 22. (48-GT) Bryce Miller/Marco Holzer, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 2:19.462, 87.766

23. (62-GT) Olivier Beretta/Matteo Malucelli, Ferrari F458 Italia, 2:19.834, 87.532

24. (91-GT) Marc Goossens/Dominik Farnbacher, SRT Viper GTS-R Viper V-10, 2:20.088, 87.374

25. (17-GT) Wolf Henzler/Bryan Sellers, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 2:21.134, 86.726

26. (23-GT) Bill Sweedler/Townsend Bell, Ferrari F458 Italia, 2:21.704, 86.377

27. (66-GTC) Ben Keating/Damien Faulkner, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 2:27.816, 82.806

28. (30-GTC) Henrique Cisneros/Sean Edwards, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 2:27.880, 82.770

29. (22-GTC) Cooper MacNeil/Jeroen Bleekemolen, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 2:27.920, 82.747 30. (27-GTC) Patrick Dempsey/Andy Lally, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 2:28.533, 82.406

31. (44-GTC) Seth Neiman/Dion von Moltke, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 2:28.618, 82.359

32. (11-GTC) Mike Hedlund/Jan Heylen, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 2:28.692, 82.318

33. (45-GTC) Nelson Canache Jr./Spencer Pumpelly, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 2:29.353, 81.953

 source: nascar.com