Mazda Team Joest will lead the field away in tomorrow’s IMSA race at Mid-Ohio from pole position with its #77 DPi.
Oliver Jarvis topped the charts for the Prototype pole with a record time of 1:10.705. Jarvis and Acura Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves went toe-to-toe in the session, each bettering the others time throughout the fifteen-minute session.
“Just a big thank you to the whole team, this has been a tough weekend but to come here and stick it on pole this is a big one for us,” said Jarvis.
“At Daytona we knew we had the pace, coming here we knew the Penskes were going to be strong, but I think the weather has helped us because no one has had dry running so the preparation before the race helped us.”
Oliver Jarvis set a new track record in qualifying with a 1:10.705.
— Mazda Motorsports (@MazdaRacing) May 4, 2019
Castroneves in the #7 Acura ARX-05 ended the session in second with a best time of 1:10.727. Castroneves’ lost out on a potentially better time when the #77 Mazda ran out of fuel in front of Castroneves on the Brazilian’s final lap.
Making it two Acura’s in the top three was Dane Cameron in the #6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 who set a best time of 1:10.806 after twelve laps. Pipo Derani was fourth quickest in the #31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac D.Pi-V.R. with a quickest time of 1:11.721.
GT Le Mans saw its traditional dog fight for the top spot, with the runners progressively getting faster throughout the session. This time it was the #66 Ford GT of Sebastian Bourdais who set the session’s best time of 1:19.425. This was Bourdais’ first GTLM pole in IMSA, the Frenchman a late addition to the field filling in for an ill Joey Hand this weekend.
“It feels great the guys did a really good job, it was tricky conditions but Ford gave us a great car so I couldn’t be any happier. It was interesting in the rain whatever worked in the IndyCar worked here,” said Bourdais. “It looks like that retro livery is working better than the one we had at Daytona.”
Bourdais went punch-for-punch with Laurens Vanthoor in the #912 Porsche 911 RSR, the pair traded the top spot for the entirety of the second half of the session. Vanthoor’s best lap was a 1:19.399, it came on his final lap and was good enough for pole until Bourdais stole back the top of the charts.
BMW, which was on pole from Mid-Ohio last year, showed promise early in the session but had to settle for third with Jesse Krohn in the #24 BMW M8 GTE. His best time was a 1:19.623 after 10 laps. That car has shown promise this weekend is looking for a strong showing at the team’s home race.
Tommy Milner made it four manufacturers in as many positions thanks to a 1:19.721 in his #4 Corvette C7.R. The #4 Corvette crew, who are 11 points behind their teammates in the #3 Corvette — will look for a good result to help in Corvette’s pursuit of a team championship.
Richard Heistand topped the GT Daytona field in his #14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC-F GT3. Hesitant, the bronze driver for that car, set a best lap of 1:24.281, more than a second and a half clear of the next best time. This is the second year in a row that the Lexus has secured pole from Mid-Ohio following a record-setting effort from Jack Hawksworth in 2018.
“It’s great, it was the first time and I didn’t know where to go.” Said Heistand after having to walk to the post-qualifying interview as a result of parking his car in the wrong spot. “It’ a great car and I’m really happy with the lap but the car suits the conditions and with the track drying I just had to put together a clean lap.”
Ben Keating had a qualifying session that consisted of highs and lows. After spinning on one of his opening laps and finding himself in the grass the Texan rebounded to end the session in second. Keating clocked in a 1:26.109 on his final flying lap.
Putting the second Lexus in the top three was Frankie Montecalvo in the #12 AIM Vasser Sullivan entry. His best time was a 1:26.451 after seven laps.
The GTD session was interrupted only momentarily by a short red flag for the #73 Park Place Porsche 911 GT3 R. Marco Seefried lost the tail of the car when driving over a patch of wet on the track. That sent the car spinning into the wet grass, where it became stuck.
After being pulled out Seefried went on to set a best time of 1:27.005; the team will start tenth.
The LMP2 pole was secured by the #38 Performance Tech Motorsports of Kyle Masson who was nearly seven seconds clear of the #52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca 07 which had Eric Lux on board.
Tomorrow’s race starts at 18:40 BST, It can be watched on IMSA.tv outside of the United States and on NBC Sports inside the U.S.