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Mazda On Pole For Road America

Ford will lead the GTLM field into Turn 1

The #55 Mazda will start from pole at Road America, after Jonathan Bomarito went fastest around the Wisconsin-based circuit, setting a 1:54.507 to pip the other Prototype class runners by over a second.

15 minutes were wound back on the clock for the top Prototype qualifying session. Early on in the session, fast time was traded back and forth by the #5 Action Express Corvette Daytona Prototype of Christian Fittipaldi, the #55 Mazda Racing prototype of Jonathon Bomarito and the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype of Ricky Taylor, with the #55 of Bomarito going fastest with a time of 1:54.941.

Shortly after this time was set, the #60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JSP02 of John Pew went off the track at turn 3, going deep into gravel and beaching the car. This brought out the red flag, which was quickly handled as marshals pulled the #60 out on to the grass and Pew was able to continue.

With only a few minutes remaining in the session when the green flag few again, the #55 of Bomarito set the pole time of 1:54.507, which was over a full second faster than second place #5 of Fittipaldi, putting in a 1:55.659. The #10 of Ricky Taylor will start third, setting a session best time of 1:55.685.

LMPC, always one of the closest contested qualifying sessions of the weekend will see the #38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca of hometown hero James French on pole with a time of 1:59.133. The second position on the starting grid for the class will see the #7 Starworks Motorsports Oreca of Jose Guitterez start second, a position that he fought hard for with eventual pole sitter French. Third position will be filled by the #85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca of Misha Goikhberg with a time 1:59.462.

GTLM qualifying started with #100 BMW Team RLL M6 GTLM of Lucas Luhr leading the field onto the track, but suddenly appeared slow and did a pass down the pitlane and then seemingly got up to speed. Meanwhile, the first of the sessions quick times were set by the #61 Risi Competizione Ferrari F488 GTLM of Giancarlo Fisichella with a time of 2:03.877.

Shortly after setting this time, Fisichella and the #66 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT of Dirk Muller traded fast times with the German, setting a time of 2:03.327.

While this was happening, the #911 Porsche of Patrick Pilet clocked in a 2:02.912, which would put him in the second starting position by sessions end. With only minutes to go the #66 went back to the top by half a second, setting the eventual pole lap of 2:02.451. The Corvettes rather surprisingly were mired down in P6 and P7 with the #3 Corvette Racing C7.R of Antonio Garcia on a time of 2:03.432 and the #4 Corvette of Oliver Gain did a time of 2:03.521 respectively.

BMW will start the race in eighth and ninth in class, with the #100 of Luhr posting a time of 2:04.129 for eigth quickest and the #25 BMW Team RLL M6 GTLM of Bill Auberlen in ninth posting a time of 2:04.822 respectively. The other Porsche, the #912 of Earl Bamber, will start fifth with a time of 2:03.173.

GTD saw #33 Riley Motorsports Viper of Ben Keating set the pace early on in the session with a 2:10.599. But, in rapid fashion, that time was quickly bested by the Paul Miller Racing #48 Lamborghini of Madison Snow, which was then even bettered further by the #22 WeatherTech Porsche of Cooper MacNeil.

Sadly, this lap time was disqualified. Then further into the session, the #6 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS of Andrew Davis was the first to break into the 2:07’s, with a 2:07.759

The #23 Team Seattle Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3R of Alex Riberas did a time 2:07.520 and quickly crossed the line, lifted to coast, seemingly confident in his time. This would go on to be the pole sitting lap. Second starting position would be the #6 Audi of Davis, with the #9 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS of Matt Bell rounding out the top three.

The 2h 40min race will start at 3:05pm local time Sunday.