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Long Beach Roundup: Montoya On IMSA Pole

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, April 14 2018

Juan Pablo Montoya put the Team Penske Acura on the IMSA pole in Long Beach.


Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya won the pole for Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Series race in Long Beach on Friday.

Montoya, driving an Acura ARX-05 prototype, laid down a circuit-record lap of 1 minute, 12.922 seconds (97.155 mph) in the No. 6 Acura DPi he co-drives with Dane Cameron. Ricky Taylor previously held the record, lapping the 1.968-mile street circuit in 1:13.549 in 2017 while driving the No. 10 Cadillac DPi-V.R. for Wayne Taylor Racing.

“Acura and Team Penske have done such a good job on the car this weekend,” said Montoya, who also scored his first career pole at Long Beach in any series. “It’s reminds me of driving a Formula 1 car, you can hustle it around and you still have to manage it. I’m really looking forward to the race tomorrow, it should be a lot of fun.”

Montoya will be joined on the front row by the No. 31 Cadillac DPi-V.R. of Felipe Nasr, who drove a qualifying lap of 1:13.109 (96.707 mph). Nasr and co-driver Eric Curran enter this weekend’s race leading the WeatherTech Championship standings.

Harry Tincknell qualified third with a lap of 1:13.156 (96.845 mph) in the No. 55 Mazda DPi making it three different Prototype manufacturers in the top three.

In GT Le Mans, Joey Hand put down a track record lap for the class to score the class pole position in the No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT. Hand’s best lap of 1 minute, 16.869 (92.167 mph) eclipsed the previous record of 1:16.909 set in 2017 by Jan Magnussen.

It was Hand’s second sports car pole at Long Beach, but his first in seven years.
“We made some last-minute changes before qualifying,” Hand said. “We just kept tuning and tuning. Man, I work with the best team, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing. It took until the last lap. I didn’t get a good one until then, with low fuel. I knew it was the time to do it.
“I’m so happy. I love being at Long Beach. I love being on pole. My wife is here and so is my family. Look, there’s boats right there! How great is that?”
Starting second in GTLM will be Laurens Vanthoor. Vanthoor’s best lap was 1:17.013 (91.994 mph) in the No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR that he co-drives with Earl Bamber.

In the IndyCar Series, Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing recorded the fastest lap in Friday’s two sessions of practice at Long Beach.

Dixon, the 2015 Long Beach race winner, was quickest for the day with a lap of 1 minute, 8.4112 seconds (103.562 mph) logged in the first of the 45-minute practices.

“This afternoon was definitely a bit of a different story; really struggled with front grip,” said Dixon, the four-time IndyCar Series champion whose 41 career wins rank fourth on the all-time list. “It seemed like the temperature really affected our car.

“There were a couple others that went quite fast in that session on the red (alternate) tires, and I actually had to do almost a long run on my reds to get them to work. I think I did my quickest time on Lap 7 or 8 (of the stint). It was kind of an interesting session for us, but I think the car is kind of there. It’s just going to take a little bit to get it right.”

Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay – the 2010 Long Beach winner – was second quick with a first-session lap of 1:08.4285 (103.536 mph) in the No. 28 Honda.

Alexander Rossi, Hunter-Reay’s teammate driving the No. 27 Honda, led the second practice and was third for the day, at 1:08.5567 (103.342 mph).

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, April 14 2018
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