ALMS VIR qualifying reports
Briscoe (P2), Cameron (PC) Lead Class Qualifying for Oak Tree Grand Prix. Dyson Racing turned the tables on Muscle Milk Pickett Racing in qualifying for Saturday’s Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway, capturing the pole position for Round 9 of the 2013 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón season.
Guy Smith ran a lap of one minute, 35.965 seconds (122.670 mph) on the 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course to lead the 15-minute session. He was driving the No. 16 Dyson Racing Mazda/Thetford/Norcold Lola B12/60 he shares with Johnny Mowlem, giving the team its first pole of the season. Klaus Graf, who already clinched the title with Lucas Luhr in the No. 6 Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03c, had a best lap of 1:36.169 (122.410 mph).
“I knew it was going to be pretty close, but that’s what makes it so interesting,” said Smith, who took his eighth career ALMS pole. “Klaus and Lucas are absolutely first-class drivers, and to beat them, you really need to be on your game. It’s great to be on the pole position, but tomorrow’s another day. We’ve got to sit down and plan to see how we can beat them in the race. It’s been a pretty tough year for Dyson Racing, and this will be my last ALMS race, so I want to go out with a good one.”
Graf and Mowlem will take a six-race winning streak into the event, after having a five-race pole streak come to an end in qualifying.
“It was exciting qualifying, even if it’s not the way we wanted it to be,” Graf said. “We couldn’t quite get the performance out of the car that we wanted, but we’ll keep working on it. It’s a long race tomorrow.”
Ryan Briscoe took the P2 pole as Level 5 Motorsports swept the top two positions. Briscoe ran a lap of 1:39.796 (117.961 mph) in the No. 551 Level 5 Motorsports Siemens/Alpina Watches/Ohiya Casino Resort HPD ARX-03b co-driven by Scott Tucker. He was followed by Marino Franchitti, 1:40.307 (117.360 mph) in the No. 552 co-driven by Guy Cosmo and new addition Stefan Johansson.
“For me, this is one of the most exciting tracks to qualify at, because there are really high speeds and you can go quick with the downforce,” Briscoe said. “My job is really simple tomorrow – I get in for Scott (Tucker) and drive it home for the win.”
Dane Cameron led the Prototype Challenge presented by Continental Tire qualifying, winning the pole with a lap of 1:41.854 (115.577 mph) to edge out Tom Kimber-Smith.
“We have a really good car for the race,” Cameron said. “It was nice for us to be quickest during both of today’s (practice) sessions, so it should make for a fun race tomorrow. Hopefully we’ll be able to turn this around into a win.”
Cameron is looking to help Mike Guasch, co-driver of the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports Molecule ORECA FLM09, capture the PC title on Saturday. Kimber-Smith ran a lap of 1:42.105 (115.293 mph) to briefly lead the session, but wound up second in the No. 05 CORE autosport Composite Resources ORECA FLM09 co-driven by Jonathan Bennett. To remain in title contention, Bennett cannot lose more than one position to Guasch in Saturday’s race.
Saturday’s schedule opens with a 25-minute warm-up at 9:35 a.m. ET. The Oak Tree Grand Prix coverage begins at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN3.com and the field takes the green flag at 2:15 p.m. ET. The race will be televised on ESPN2 at 5:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.
Martin Scores Third Straight GT Pole for BMW Team RLL
Faulkner Goes Back-To-Back In GTC Qualifying For TRG At VIR
Maxime Martin became the third different BMW Team RLL driver in three races to score an American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón GT class pole position, which he did on Friday afternoon in qualifying for Saturday’s Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway (ESPN3.com, Live, 2 p.m. ET).
Martin lapped the 3.27-mile, 17-turn VIR road circuit at 1 minute, 45.978 seconds (111.080 mph) in the No. 55 BMW North America, LLC/Crowne Plaza BMW Z4 GTE to take the pole and establish a new GT-class track record. Martin’s pole on Friday comes on the heels of teammate Joey Hand taking the top starting position in the most recent ALMS race at Circuit of The Americas last month.
Martin’s co-driver, Bill Auberlen, took the GT pole two races ago at the Grand Prix of Baltimore. A total of four different drivers have earned poles for BMW Team RLL this season, as John Edwards earned the team’s first class pole in July at Lime Rock Park.
“It’s for sure a great pole position for me,” Martin said. “This is the first time for me at the track; my first time every track in the US. It’s not always easy. I’m really happy for the team and working with my teammate, Bill Auberlen. He’s teaching me a lot, and getting me up to speed very quickly. Third pole of the team, third pole for the 55, third different driver. We know tomorrow it will be difficult, we are slower in a straight line with our engine power, but the team is working out a good strategy so I hope to bring it home.”
Matteo Malucelli qualified second in GT with a lap of 1:46.113 (110.938 mph) in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia. Malucelli lost his fastest time in the session, when fluids from the No. 62 machine brought out a red flag and ended the session prematurely. However, Malucelli’s second-fastest lap kept him second on the GT grid.
Malucelli was the meat in a BMW sandwich, as Dirk Muller put his No. 56 BMW North America, LLC/Crowne Plaza BMW Z4 GTE third on the GT grid. Muller’s best time was a 1:46.174 (110.875 mph).
Qualifying for the GT Challenge class saw a familiar name atop the charts, as Damien Faulkner took his second consecutive class pole with a best lap of 1:52.213 (104.908 mph) in the No. 66 Port Lavaca Group/Viper Exchange/Adobe Road Winery Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
Faulkner also qualified on pole at Circuit of The Americas last month, which he went on to win alongside co-driver Ben Keating. It is also the Irishman’s second straight VIR pole, as he started from the No. 1 position in the GT class last year.
“It wasn’t an easy day to be honest,” said Faulkner, who set a GTC-class track record with his best lap on Friday. “We had two one-hour practice sessions that didn’t go to plan. We changed the car between sessions. You always want the best car to be the second one, and we went the wrong way coming out in the second session. We ended up going back to the garages before the session ended. We had gone the wrong way, so we got it back to how we were set up this morning. Then, we worked super hard to get it back to the front. Hats off to the TRG team for working so hard and quick to get the car back to speed.”
Jeroen Bleekemolen qualified second in GTC with a best lap of 1:52.610 (104.538 mph) in the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT3 Cup for Alex Job Racing. Third in GTC went to Spencer Pumpelly in the No. 45 Venezuela/eSilicon Porsche 911 GT3 Cup for Flying Lizard Motorsports. Pumpelly’s best lap was a 1:52.621 (104.528 mph).
The two-hour and 45-minute Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway takes the green flag at 2:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 5. The race will be streamed live on ESPN3.com beginning at 2 p.m. ET and will be televised on ESPN2 at 5:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.
1. (16-P1) Guy Smith/Johnny Mowlem, Lola B12/60 Mazda, 1:35.965, 122.670 mph
2. (6-P1) Lucas Luhr/Klaus Graf, HPD ARX-03c, 1:36.169, 122.410
3. (551-P2) Scott Tucker/Ryan Briscoe, HPD ARX-03b, 1:39.796, 117.961
4. (552-P2) Guy Cosmo/Marino Franchitti/Stefan Johansson, HPD ARX-03b, 1:40.307, 117.360
5. (02-P2) Johannes van Overbeek/Ed Brown, HPD ARX-03b, 1:40.743, 116.852
6. (52-PC) Dane Cameron/Mike Guasch, ORECA FLM09, 1:41.854, 115.577
7. (05-PC) Jonathan Bennett/Tom Kimber-Smith, ORECA FLM09, 1:42.105, 115.293
8. (8-PC) Chris Cumming/Kyle Marcelli, ORECA FLM09, 1:42.419, 114.940
9. (01-P2) Anthony Lazzaro/Scott Sharp, HPD ARX-03b, 1:42.497, 114.852
10. (18-PC) Ryan Booth/Tristan Nunez, ORECA FLM09, 1:42.574, 114.766
11. (81-PC) Mirco Schultis/Renger van der Zande, ORECA FLM09, 1:42.869, 114.437
12. (7-PC) James French/Rusty Mitchell, ORECA FLM09, 1:43.406, 113.843
13. (0-P1) Katherine Legge/Andy Meyrick, DeltaWing LM12 Elan, 1:43.724, 113.494
14. (55-GT) Bill Auberlen/Maxime Martin, BMW Z4 GTE, 1:45.978, 111.080
15. (62-GT) Matteo Malucelli/Olivier Beretta, Ferrari F458 Italia, 1:46.113, 110.938
16. (56-GT) Joey Hand/Dirk Mueller, BMW Z4 GTE, 1:46.174, 110.875
17. (48-GT) Bryce Miller/Marco Holzer, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 1:46.211, 110.836
18. (93-GT) Jonathan Bomarito/Kuno Wittmer, SRT Viper GTS-R Viper V-10, 1:46.528, 110.506 19. (91-GT) Dominik Farnbacher/Marc Goossens, SRT Viper GTS-R Viper V-10, 1:46.568, 110.465
20. (06-GT) Colin Braun/Patrick Long, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 1:46.673, 110.356
21. (3-GT) Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia, Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1, 1:46.923, 110.098
22. (4-GT) Tommy Milner/Oliver Gavin, Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1, 1:47.038, 109.980
23. (17-GT) Bryan Sellers/Wolf Henzler, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 1:47.730, 109.273
24. (23-GT) Bill Sweedler/Townsend Bell, Ferrari F458 Italia, 1:47.761, 109.242
25. (66-GTC) Ben Keating/Damien Faulkner, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 1:52.213, 104.908
26. (22-GTC) Cooper MacNeil/Jeroen Bleekemolen, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 1:52.610, 104.538
27. (45-GTC) Nelson Canache Jr./Spencer Pumpelly, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 1:52.621, 104.528
28. (30-GTC) Henrique Cisneros/Sean Edwards, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 1:52.927, 104.244
29. (31-GTC) Eduardo Cisneros/Jakub Giermaziak, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 1:53.286, 103.914
30. (11-GTC) Mike Hedlund/Jan Heylen, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 1:53.425, 103.787
31. (44-GTC) Seth Neiman/Dion von Moltke, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 1:53.507, 103.712
32. (27-GTC) Patrick Dempsey/Andy Lally, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 1:53.571, 103.653