Graf, Porsche On Mosport Pole
By Jonathan Ingram | Senior Writer
Trying to claw his way back into the American Le Mans Series LMP championship, Klaus Graf won the pole in the Muscle Milk Porsche Spdyer in preparation for Sunday’s race at Mosport International Raceway.
Graf edged Chris Dyson’s Lola-Mazda and the HPD ARX-01c of Simon Pagenaud to take Team Cytosport’s first pole at a track where laps average 130 mph.
The Cytosport squad continues to try to fight back from the crash that injured team owner Greg Pickett and forced a withdrawal from Round 6 at Mid-Ohio. “We’ve come back from a tough deal,” said Pickett, who suffered a fractured lower back and broken ribs. “Klaus really sucked it up.”
“This place is so daunting, if you make a mistake it really costs you a lot of time,” said Graf, who will co-drive with Romain Dumas on the undulating, circular track known for its high-speed corners. The German clocked 106.596 midway in the session and then waited on pit road to see if he needed another lap to retain the top spot.
It wasn’t necessary for Graf, who trails Patron Highcroft Racing’s David Brabham and Simon Pagenaud by 20 points with two rounds remaining, to return to the track.
Dyson could get no closer than 1:07.142 in Dyson Racing’s turbocharged four-banger and Pagenaud clocked in at 1:07.228 under power from a Honda V-8.
“We added some downforce and we were bloody fast in the corners,” said Pagenaud. “I think we will be very consistent in the race.”
In GT, it was a mixed bag for the Risi Competizione team. Gianmaria Bruni won the pole with a lap of 1:17.160 by utilizing the mid-engined Ferrari 430 GT’s balance on the high-speed Canadian circuit.
But earlier, Pierre Kaffer had a big off at Turn 1 and badly damaged Risi’s No. 61 Ferrari. After a heavy front-end impact, an awake and alert Kaffer was taken for a precautionary medical exam.
Also, Bruni’s regular co-driver Jaime Melo, in the fight for the GT championship against the Flying Lizard Porsche drivers, was unable to drive the No. 62 Risi due to illness. Melo and Bruni trail by 18 points in the championship. Toni Vilander, scheduled to drive No. 61, may be switched to partner Bruni in the race.
Jorg Bergmeister, the co-leader in the points with Patrick Long, was 0.301 seconds behind the pole winner with the Lizards’ Porsche 911 GT3 RSR — a relatively big gap for the usually tight class. Tom Milner Jr. was third on the grid in the Rahal Letterman Racing BMW M3, just 0.030 seconds behind Bergmeister.
Oliver Gavin’s factory Corvette ZR-1 was fourth, followed by Scott Sharp’s Extreme Speed Motorsports Ferrari, the Corvette of Johnny O’Connell and the BMW of Dirk Mueller. The top eight all were within 0.681 seconds of one another.
Luiz Diaz was the pole winner in the LMP Challenge class in a spec Oreca FLM09 chassis. Bryce Miller took the top spot in the GT Challenge for GT3 Cup Porsches.
– Jonathan Ingram can be reached at email@example.comNo Comment