Neel Jani earns his first pole position in the American Le Mans Series at Road Atlanta with his hot lap at 1:09.089 for a speed of 132.351 mph on the 2.54 miles road course in Georgia. The Rebellion team just earned the LMP1 privateer team trophy in the FIA World Endurance Championship at the Fuji circuit in Japan.
“We very much enjoy racing here. We like the American tracks. They are not very forgiving if you go off. Also, the atmosphere, look around the track, all the spectators and the camping going on. It's a big party which makes us enjoy racing around even that much more,” said Jani.
We came here with one target, win Petit Le Mans.
Upon their arrival in Braselton, they stated that the reason they came to the ALMS and European Le Mans Series combined season finale was to earn the overall and P1 victory at the Petit Le Mans 1,000 miles or 10 hour race; whichever comes first.
“We came here with one target, win Petit Le Mans, we know qualifying is just a very small thing, the race is a totally different game. We won't interfere with direct contact with the other cars, we'll just run our own race, we want to win, that was why we came over here,” added Jani.
Jani is one of the three drivers in the #12 Lola B12/60 Toyota.
Second in the P1 class was Lucas Luhr in the #6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD ARX-03a Honda. The team holds the points leave over Dyson Racing as they aim for their first championship.
First in P2 was taken by Oliver Pla for the #35 OAK Racing Morgan Nissan. With his lap at 1:12.046, the European team just nipped American-base Conquest Endurance team by 0.002 of a second. Martin Plowman clocked his best lap at 1:12.048; also in a Morgan Nissan.
Pla said, “The car felt great. The competition is very close, during the session the lap times were getting quicker and quicker. I set a good time at the end. I hit a fair bit of traffic at the middle of the session. The team gave me a good car today; it should be great for the race tomorrow. I love racing in America, it is my third time here. It is very different than what we do in Europe.”
OAK Racing is aiming for the ELMS LMP2 championship, and they hold the points lead over Greaves Motorsports Nissan Zytek Z11SN. Double points on the line for the ELMS teams in their finale. Pla said, “Tomorrow the competition will be very tough, it will be good for sure.”
Gunnar Jeannette qualified the #0 Highcroft Nissan DeltaWing with his best lap of 1:12.850. The car will start at the back of the grid as it is still considered an experimental “unclassified” prototype sportscar.
Guy Cosmo shocked his own teammate just as the GT qualifying session was ended. The newly married man has been all smiles this week, and even helped a reporter with a new recorder she was trying out. His good mood increased today when he set a record time on his final lap of 1:18.677 in the #02 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ferrari F458 Italia. Cosmo quipped "I always said I'd be faster once I was married."
His top speed ended the early celebration by the #01 ESM F458 Italia. Toni Vilander returned to the team’s pit box believing he had notched the pole with his hot lap of 1:18.729. Cosmo nipped him by 0.052 of a second! It was a story ending qualifying for the team with their first-ever GT front row.
“We're really happy; the team has put in a lot of work since its inception three years ago. All of the hard work is being realized. We have a special livery to promote the Ultimate Vodka, the new brand from Patron,” smiled Cosmo.