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Mazda On Pole At Mosport

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, July 9 2016
Corvette Racing is back in P1 after qualifying at Mosport on Saturday.

Corvette Racing is back in P1 after qualifying at Mosport on Saturday.

RacinToday.com

Tristan Nunez claimed his second pole of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, leading qualifying for Sunday’s race at Motorsport Park in Canada.

Nunez turned a lap of 1:10.126 (126.2 mph) on the 2.459-mile, 10-turn circuit in the No. 55 Mazda Prototype. Nunez captured the first pole for the car at Laguna Seca, and joined co-driver Jonathan Bomarito in finishing third at Detroit, the best finish for the Mazda Prototype.

“Qualifying is good and all, but we have one focus and that’s to win the racetomorrow,” Nunez said. “Everyone’s prepared for that. The drivers, crew, everyone has been working their tails off at the shop. They’ve been practicing pit stops. And the drivers have been working to be physically fit because this track is very challenging. Now we’re going to go out and see how it turns out tomorrow.”

Ricky Taylor will join Nunez on the front row, running a best lap of 1:10.435 (125.6 mph) in the No. 10 Corvette Daytona Prototype co-driven by his brother Jordan. The pair are the defending winners of the event and enter the race tied for second in the WeatherTech Championship season-long Prototype standings.

The second row also features a Mazda-Chevrolet pairing. Tom Long was third fastest with a lap of 1:10.572 (125.4 mph) in the No. 70 Mazda Prototype co-driven by Joel Miller. He edged out Christian Fittipaldi, who ran 1:10.761 (125.1 mph) in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Mustang Corvette DP co-driven by Joao Barbosa.

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Colin Braun captured his second pole in the Prototype Challen class, running a PC track-record lap of 1:11.946 (123.0 mph) in the No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM09 co-driven by Jon Bennett. It was his fifth WeatherTech Championship pole, and first since Sebring earlier this season.

“We wanted to mix it up and try something different,” Braun said. “This is the first time we’ve had this many classes here since the old ALMS days. We tried to maximize our track time to work on the car. We don’t know what to expect in the race – how many cautions, how it’s going to flow. We’ve certainly have not had a lucky season, so we’re trying something different.”

After winning five consecutive PC team titles in combined WeatherTech Championship and ALMS competition, CORE autosport is fourth in the team standings – 23 points behind the lead.

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For the first time since the 2015 Rolex 24 At Daytona, a Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R will start from the pole position.

Spaniard Antonio Garcia did the honors for the Corvette squad, putting the velocity yellow No. 3 Corvette C7.R on the GT Le Mans class pole with a best lap of 1 minute, 15.198 seconds (117.7 mph). Oliver Gavin won the team’s last pole in qualifying for the 2015 season-opening Rolex 24.

It was Garcia’s first pole since the race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2014. Garcia and co-driver Jan Magnussen are going for their second Canadian Tire Motorsport Park victory together after winning previously in 2014. Magnussen owns a total of five victories at CTMP.

“It’s always important to be up front and luckily to be competitive again,” Garcia said. “The car felt pretty decent all year long, but at some points we were lacking some speed. We seem to like this track a lot. It suits Corvette Racing. We are always competitive here. I think I won two years ago with Jan and a podium last year. Luckily in qualifying, we were able to beat the Ford. We know it’s a three-hour race and everything can change. Track position is really important here.”

Joining Garcia on the front row will be 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE Pro winner Dirk Mueller, who qualified the No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT second in GTLM with a best lap of 1:15.236 (117.6 mph). While they won Le Mans, Mueller and co-driver Joey Hand are still looking for their first WeatherTech Championship victory this season.

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Brazilian driver Alex Riberas earned the second GT Daytona in the No. 23 Porsche 911 GT3 R for Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing.

Riberas posted a best lap of 1 minute, 18.245 seconds (113.1 mph), putting him on the GTD pole for the first time since the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May. Riberas and co-driver Mario Farnbacher went on to win that race.

“We were not actually expecting to be in first place,” Riberas said. “We were struggling with the car this weekend. It was really tough considering we didn’t get a lot of track time under dry conditions. We got our heads around the car during Practice 3. Hopefully, we can still get a good car for tomorrow for the long distance and take care of the tires. Hopefully, it will be like (Mazda Raceway) Laguna (Seca) and we can go for the win.”

Andrew Davis qualified second in the No. 6 Audi R8 LMS GT3 with a lap of 1:18.582 (112.6 mph). He and co-driver Robin Liddell head into Sunday’s race looking for their first GTD victory of the season.

Starting third on the GTD grid will be Spencer Pumpelly in the No. 16 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 for Change Racing. Pumpelly, who finished third in Street Tuner class in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race that preceded WeatherTech Championship qualifying, posted a best lap of 1:18.672 (112.5 mph). He and co-driver Corey Lewis look to bring Lamborghini its first WeatherTech Championship win inSunday’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix.

 

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, July 9 2016
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