The Wayne Taylor Racing Konica Minolta Cadillac will start from the Pole for tomorrow’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at CTMP, after Ricky Taylor set a 1:08.459 on his fifth flying lap in the 15-minute Prototype Qualifying session to score the team’s third Pole of the year.
“After Watkins Glen we were a bit down with the result,” said Taylor. “Cadillac and all the Konica Minolta guys worked super hard this week so we’d unload fast in the first practice session. It was a tough qualifying session, there are a lot of quick cars. We’ll make some changes to the car overnight to prepare for tomorrow, but hopefully it’s something to look forward to after Watkins Glen.”
Taylor’s time was just over a tenth quicker than the JDC-Miller Motorsports ORECA of Canadian Misha Goikhberg who’s best time was a 1:08.587, and four tenths quicker than the #2 ESM Nissan DPi which will start third with a 01:08.886. The sister #22 car will start fourth, after Johannes van Overbeek who toured the circuit in 1:08.934.
The best of the Mazda’s – the #55 of Jonathan Bomarito and Tristan Nunez – rounded out the top five with a 01:08.959.
In GTLM, it was a first Pole position for the new 2017 Porsche 911 RSR. The #911 of Patrick Pilet and Dirk Werner will start from the best grid position in the class after Werner set a 1:14.085 in the car. It was the first GTLM Pole for Porsche since the 2016 Rolex 24 Hours too, making it an extra special occasion for the team.
“I think the team did great today,” Werner said. “It’s the first pole, and every time you come with a new car, there are certain things you want to achieve and today is the first car. We hope to come back tomorrow and continue with the good we’re carrying today.”
Second in the hotly-contested class was the #25 BMW Team RLL M6 GTLM after Bill Auberlen posted a best time of 1:14.103 to break up the Porsches at the top, as behind the #912 911 RSR of Gianmaria Bruni and Laurens Vanthoor slotted in third to give Porsche two cars in the top three.
The #24 BMW ended up fourth, ahead of the two Chip Ganassi Team USA Ford GTs – the #67 leading the #66 – which completed the top six. It was a super tight session, with the entire GTLM field separated by just over eight tenths of a second.
It was another first in GTD too, with Lexus scoring its first Pole in the series following a stellar performance behind the wheel by Sage Karam. The 3GT Racing driver steered the #14 RCF GT3 to a 1:16.563 time in the GT session to pip the Stevenson Audi R8 to the prime grid spot.
“It’s obviously very good to get the first Pole of the season,” Karam said. “I feel like it’s been long awaited. The cars have been quick at couple of events and we either made some mistakes in qualifying or something’s happened and we weren’t able to capitalize on the pole positon, but finally everything just went right. It’s good to get it for the team given that the 15 car had a tough outing this morning.
“The car was hooked up. It was planted. I just had to drive it and just didn’t make any mistakes and put together a good lap and got the Pole, so very happy.”
Behind, and in third behind the R8, was the #86 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 of Oswaldo Negri Jr. and Jeff Segal, which managed a fastest time of 1:16.828.
James French meanwhile, took the Prototype Challenge Pole, putting Performance Tech in a perfect position to take its sixth consequtive IMSA win tomorrow. His best lap was a 1:11.471.
Tomorrow’s race at CTMP is set to begin at 12:00pm local time.
Featured image courtesy of Cadillac