ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 10, 2013) – The battle between American muscle cars in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón continues to gather steam in the hotly contested GT class.
On the heels of a tooth-and-nail fight last month at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in which Corvette Racing came out on top, the tables turned in favor of SRT Motorsports this morning in qualifying for Sunday’s Orion Energy Systems 245 (ABC, Live, 3 p.m. ET).
Jonathan Bomarito lapped Road America’s 4.048-mile circuit in 2 minutes, 3.410 seconds/118.084 mph in the No. 93 Pennzoil Ultra SRT Viper GTS-R for his second consecutive GT pole, edging the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6 ZR1 of Antonio Garcia, 2:04.212 (117.322 mph), by 0.802 seconds.
“The SRT team worked really hard overnight; we made quite a few changes from last practice to today,” said Bomarito. “We really nailed it and it showed today. As a group, we really feel prepared for tomorrow’s race.”
Leh Keen originally qualified third in GT in the No. 23 Ferrari F458 Italia for Team West/AJR/Boardwalk Ferrari, but was moved to the rear of the field when the car did not pass the stall test in post-qualifying technical inspection. As a result, Oliver Gavin moved up to third at 2:04.277 (117.261 mph) in the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6 ZR1.
Level 5 Motorsports earned its fourth straight P2 pole with Marino Franchitti setting the session’s fastest lap, 1:54.806 (126.934 mph), in the No. 552 Siemens/Alpina Watches/Ohiya Casino Resort HPD ARX-03b. Franchitti set the lap 10 minutes into the 15-minute session, besting Guy Cosmo’s lap of 1:55.622 (126.038 mph) in the No. 01 Tequila Patrón HPD ARX-03b by 0.260 seconds. Simon Pagenaud – filling in for the injured Ryan Briscoe – qualified third in the No. 551 Level 5 Motorsports entry at 1:55.793 (125.852).
In the Prototype Challenge presented by Continental Tire (PC) class, Colin Braun earned his fourth consecutive pole and fifth of the season, edging Bruno Junqueira by 0.082 seconds with a lap of 1:57.630 (123.887 mph) in the No. 05 Composite Resources ORECA FLM09 for CORE autosport. Junqueira qualified second at 1:57.712 (123.800 mph) in the No. 9 RSR Racing entry.
Tristan Nunez originally took third on the PC grid in the No. 18 Performance Tech Motorsports entry, but he was also moved to the rear of the field due to a tire change. Renger van der Zande moved up to third in the No. 81 dress-for-less.com ORECA FLM09 entry for DragonSpeed at 1:57.912 (123.590 mph).
Spencer Pumpelly picked up his second GTC pole of the season and third of his ALMS career in the No. 45 Venezuela/eSilicon Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Pumpelly laid down his best lap with four minutes left in the session, 2:11.931 (110.458 mph), knocking then-polesitter Damien Faulkner out of the top spot.
“We knew yesterday we had a good car, but it was tough to stream a good lap to show it,” Pumpelly said. “I have to thank [teammate] Nelson Canache Jr. He was looking at the kink and saying ‘I am going five miles per hour faster through here than you.’ Based on his inspiration, I think I sucked it up and carried more speed through there.”
Sean Edwards drove the No. 30 MOMO Porsche 911 GT3 Cup to second in GTC in the final minutes at 2:12.386 (110.078 mph), with Jan Heylen third in the No. 11 Hertz Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 2:12.403 (110.064 mph).
GTC points leader Jeroen Bleekemolen qualified sixth in the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Bleekemolen is seeking his fourth consecutive Road America GTC win. He can become the first driver in ALMS GTC class history to win at the same venue four times in a row.
The Orion Energy Systems 245 is set for Sunday at 2 p.m. CT (ABC, live, 3 p.m. ET).