Alton, Virginia. After changing engines between the GT class morning and afternoon practice sessions, Marco Holzer (Germany) piloted his #48 Paul Miller Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR to the top spot in the afternoon practice and fourth position in qualifying for tomorrow’s American Le Mans Series Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway. In the GTC class for matched Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racecars, Damien Faulkner (Ireland) earned his second consecutive pole in the #66 TRG Porsche.
Holzer, who qualified ahead of all the factory Corvettes and SRT Vipers, and only three-tenths of a second behind the pole-sitting factory-backed BMW, said the crew’s two-hour engine change helped make the difference in how the Porsche he and co-driver Bryce Miller (Summit, NJ) will perform in tomorrow’s two-hour, 45-minute race.
Patrick Long (Playa del Rey, Calif.) has been near the top of the GT charts since the cars hit the track on Thursday, put his CORE autosport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in seventh position. The lap in the car he will share with Colin Braun (Ovalo, Tex.) was still only sixth-tenths of a second from the pole.
“We have been happy with the CORE autosport Porsche all day, and we have made good progress on the setup. Tomorrow’s race will be hot, and this track will be hard on tires, so the event will be a real grind,” predicted Long, the sole American Porsche factory pilot.
Tenth on the grid is the third Porsche GT entry, the Team Falken Tire 911 GT3 RSR qualified by Wolf Henzler (Germany) and co-driven by Bryan Sellers (Braselton, Ga.).
Just behind Faulkner and his TRG teammate Ben Keating (Port Lavaca, Tex.) in the GTC class was Jeroen Bleekemolen (Monaco). Bleekemolen qualified second in the #22 Alex Job Racing Porsche - defending GTC class champion Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.) is his co-driver. The pair leads the points entering this weekend’s 10th of 11 rounds. Spencer Pumpelly (Atlanta) put the #45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche third on the GTC grid for himself and Nelson Canache, Jr. (Venezuela).
As has been the team’s experience all year, this was not an easy day for Faulkner and TRG, so the pole effort was very gratifying.
“Our set-up wasn’t that good this morning, so we made a significant change for the afternoon session – a change we hoped would glide right into qualifying. Unfortunately, we took the wrong direction, and the car was worse, so we went right back to the garage and missed most of the second practice fixing our change. That’s not the way you want to go into qualifying, but our crew did a great job in a short time, and we got the pole. This track is great – I won the pole here last year – so I am optimistic for our second straight win tomorrow,” said Faulkner, whose pole was the eighth of his ALMS career.
Porsche Cars North America