In a qualifying session that was delayed 30 minutes due to lightning near the circuit Saturday afternoon (May 14), Chip Ganassi Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais claimed the pole for Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Lexus Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio with a lap at 115.402 mph. It is Bourdais’ second straight pole and third of the year.
“I wish we had three wins instead of three poles. But, it’s a good start,” Bourdais said after the session. “The car is feeling really good. We had big hiccups yesterday and didn’t really get much [track time], but the guys did a really good job and and made big setup improvements overnight and this morning. So hats off to everyone at Chip Ganassi [Racing] and Cadillac Racing.”
DPi qualifying was a rare circumstance where the best times could not come at the end of the session. Just before the halfway point of the session, it began to rain on the 2.258-mile road course. As a result, everyone had to go as fast as they could as soon as they could.
Wayne Taylor Racing’s Filipe Albuquerque was quickest early on, with Bourdais close behind. With raindrops beginning to fall, Bourdais was able to pick up the pace and overtake Albuquerque four minutes in. That advantage was short-lived as Albuquerque was able to get it back.
With about nine minutes to go in the session, Bourdais put down the quickest lap of the session to win the pole. The lap, which is the fastest lap of the weekend, was nearly a half-second off of the track record currently held by Harry Tincknell.
Bourdais won the pole by exactly two-ninths of a second over Albuquerque. Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian’s Oliver Jarvis will start third, followed by Alex Lynn in the second Ganassi Cadillac. Action Express Racing’s Tristan Nunez was fifth.
LMP2 was dominated by PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports’ Patrick Kelly. Kelly set down a banker lap early on, then slowly improved his time. Eventually, Kelly set a time at 109.346 mph that was good enough to win the pole.
Kelly’s lap was nearly a full second faster than teammate Steven Thomas. Thomas’ session was not clean as early in the session, he spun cresting the hill at turn 7 and ended up in the grass. Luckily, Thomas did not hit anything.
DragonSpeed’s Henrik Hedman will start third after doing all of the on-track activity at Mid-Ohio so far this weekend. This is because Juan Pablo Montoya is in Indianapolis for the NTT IndyCar Series GMR Grand Prix. His first time in the ORECA 07-Gibson is scheduled to be the 20-minute warmup early Sunday morning. Era Motorsport’s Dwight Merriman was fourth, then Tower Motorsport’s John Farano.
In LMP3 qualifying, Performance Tech Motorsports’ Dan Goldburg was quick early, but it was Andretti Autosport’s Jarett Andretti that put himself on top of the chart. He then improved until he turned in a lap at 105.426 mph, good for 13th overall. Andretti’s lap held up to win the LMP3 pole, quite the accomplishment after losing nearly all of the first practice session Friday due to engine issues.
Andretti’s lap was a third of a second faster than MLT Motorsports’ Josh Sarchet, who is making his series debut this weekend and doing a very good job in doing so. Goldburg was third, then Riley Motorsports’ Gar Robinson and CORE autosport’s Jon Bennett.
GTD qualifying saw the session start out with a slightly damp track surface due to earlier rain. The track was officially classified as wet, but that gave the teams free choice in terms of rubber. Everyone went with slicks.
Once the session got underway, the BMW M4 GT3s come out to play. Turner Motorsport’s Robby Foley was quickest early, but Paul Miller Racing’s Madison Snow put down a lap at 100.948 mph to claim the pole. It is Snow’s second pole of the year.
Snow’s lap was two-tenths of a second faster than Team Korthoff Motorsports’ Stevan McAleer in the No. 32 Mercedes. The Heart of Racing’s Roman DeAngelis will start third in his Aston Martin, followed by Foley. HTP Winward Motorsports’ Russell Ward, who is racing a backup chassis after a big crash at Laguna Seca, will start fifth.
The Lexus Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio is scheduled to go green at 2:10 p.m. ET Sunday. The race will air live on USA with coverage starting at 2 p.m.
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