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Westbrook Puts Corvette On Petit Pole

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, October 3 2015

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Points-leader Richard Westbrook and his No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Corvette DP will start on the pole for Saturday’s season-ending Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta.

Westbrook won the pole for the TUDOR United SportsCar Series event by running a lap of 1:27.860 (104.075 mph).

Westbrook and regular co-driver Michael Valiante – who will be joined by Mike Rockenfeller for the 10-hour race – enter the finale with a six-point lead over the two Action Express Racing cars. Christian Fittipaldi qualified second at 1:28.920 (102.834 mph) in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP co-driven by Joao Barbosa and Sebastien Bourdais, while Dane Cameron timed in fifth fastest in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP co-driven by Eric Curran and Max Papis.

“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t nice to get a pole,” Westbrook said, “but with a 10-hour race it’s not as important. With the rain it’s going to be nice to be out in front. We’ve got our eye on the forecast tomorrow but things are looking good. There was talk of qualifying getting cancelled and we would have had the pole because we’re leading in the championship, but we’re all racers, so we’d rather that the pole be determined with a session.

“I was pushing for sure, I was on the limit. The tires did take a long time to come in. No complaints, they were good going through the rivers, but it took a while to come in. There was a lot of moisture out there. Everyone was getting faster each lap so it was very important to keep going right until the end.”

Joey Hand, who joined Scott Pruett in winning the most recent TUDOR Championship race at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas, qualified third in the No. 01 Ford EcoBoost/Riley with a lap of 1:29.627 (102.023 mph). IndyCar champion Scott Dixon will join the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team this weekend.

The 15-minute session went right down to the wire, with Ricky Taylor nearly losing control of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP on his final lap. He qualified fourth, running 1:30.621 (100.904 mph) in the car he will co-drive with Max Angelelli and his brother Jordan in a bid to give Wayne Taylor Racing its second consecutive victory in the event.

Kimber-Smith Holds Off Mowlem For First PC Pole

Keeping PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ slim championship hopes alive, Tom Kimber-Smith held off Johnny Mowlem to capture his first TOTAL Pole Award of the season in the Prototype Challenge (PC) class.

Kimber-Smith ran a lap of 1:32.378 (98.985 mph) in the No. 52 Cuttwood/Spyder ORECA FLM09 co-driven by Mike Guasch and Andrew Palmer.

“The session was getting wetter toward the end,” Kimber-Smith said. “The Esses seemed to have more river flows than I’ve ever seen. Mowlem was pushing pretty hard, he’s not working toward a championship so he has nothing to lose. The way the weather has been, we don’t know what’s going to play outtomorrow. I really enjoy my racing but I really am wanting this championship.”

Mowlem was second, running 1:32.924 (98.403 mph) in the No. 16 BAR1 Motorsports Southwest Realty Advisors/The Walk/Top 1 Oil entry co-driven by Mark Drumwright, Tomy Drissi and Don Yount.

Porsche posts another pole in GTLM

For the fifth time this season, a Porsche 911 RSR will start from the pole position in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class. Earl Bamber, who will co-drive with Jörg Bergmeister and Frédéric Makowiecki, drove fast enough in the pouring rain to set the fastest time in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR.
Teammate Nick Tandy, who co-drove with Bamber to an overall win at Le Mans in June, placed the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR into the second position. Tandy will be co-driving with Patrick Pilet and Richard Lietz.
Porsche heads into the final race of the season three points ahead in three championship categories, manufacturer, team and Patrick Pilet leads in the drivers points race.
Shortly after the 15 minute qualifying session began, Bryan Sellers, driving the No. 17 Falken Tire 911 RSR hydroplaned and backed the car into the tire wall causing heavy damage. Ten minutes later, pole-sitter Bamber spun in nearly the same spot on the course, also causing heavy damage to his 911 RSR.
Lawrence earns GTD pole
Cameron Lawrence made the most of his first-ever chance to qualify for an IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race on Friday by winning the GT Daytona (GTD) pole.
Lawrence, co-driver Al Carter and the No. 93 team head into the 10-hour Petit Le Mans race leading the point standings in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup. The team’s pre-race strategy calls for Lawrence to start the race, which meant the two-time and reigning Trans Am TA2 Champion had to qualify the No. 93 for the first time.
 
| , RacinToday.com Saturday, October 3 2015
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