Cocker Gives Drayson First ALMS Pole
Johnny Cocker drove the Drayson Racing Lola-Judd to the pole position in qualifying at Mid-Ohio for Round 6 of the American Le Mans Series, the first over-all pole for the LMP team launched last year with longtime GT and off-road competitor Dale White as the team manager.
“It’s been plain to see that Drayson Racing has been making big improvements every time out,” Cocker said. “We’ve had our issues throughout the year but have been consistently fast. We were fastest in both practices and quickest in qualifying is a fantastic result. I’d like to take a little bit of credit myself! Just kidding but we have made some adjustments and it’s showing.”
The British driver was 0.932 seconds ahead of Chris Dyson’s Lola-Mazda in trials to set a record 33-car field for Saturday’s race and 1.326 seconds ahead of Simon Pagenaud in the Highcroft Racing’s ARX-01c. The Highcroft team had to recover quickly after an off-course excursion by Pagenaud in the final practice.
Missing was the Porsche Spyder RS of CytoSport. Following Greg Pickett’s heavy crash on Thursday into the tire barriers at Turn Four at the end of the long back straight, the team withdrew its car due to a lack of a spare tub. Pickett suffered no severe injuries.
Finn Toni Vilander drove the Risi Competizione Ferrari 430 GTC to the pole in GT, edging more experienced teammate Gianmaria Bruni by 0.077 seconds. Vilander won his first pole in his first appearance in the ALMS at Lime Rock in 2006, but did not return to the series until this year. The Corvette ZR1 of Oliver Gavin took third, 0.337 seconds behind the pole winner. The first eight GT entries were separated by less than a second.
The Lime Rock winners, Flying Lizard Motorsports, were eighth with Patrick Long behind the wheel. In between were the BMW M3’s of Rahal Letterman Racing, the Corvette of Jan Magnussen and Guy Cosmo’s Extreme Speed Motorsports Ferrari entry.
Christophe Bouchut took the LMP Challenge pole for Level 5 Motorsports and last year’s Porsche SuperCup champion, Jeroen Bleekemolen, claimed the top spot in the GT Challenge aboard his Porsche GT3 Cup entry of Black Swan Racing.No Comment