After taking time to dial in the car’s set up in the first 90 minutes of practice this morning, a Level 5 Motorsports HPD ARX-03b claimed the top spot in the time sheets in the final hour of practice which was held just prior to qualifying. As always in the ALMS, competition was tight and the defending class champions were challenged throughout by the Conquest Endurance Morgan-Nissan, but the No. 055 prevailed and maintained its strong performance record.
In blazing sunshine and ambient temperatures of over 90 degrees (over 120 degrees on track), championship points leaders Level 5 claimed their fourth consecutive P2 pole position in the course of this afternoon’s 15-minute session. Scott Tucker and Christophe Bouchut were on qualifying duty in the No.95 and 055 respectively, and the Frenchman and his team mate Tucker will start from the P2 class pole position and third overall for tomorrow’s fourth round of the series. Bouchut’s time of 46.539 seconds, set on his 18th and final lap, was a new qualifying record for the P2 category and is his seventh class pole in the series.
Second fastest in class was team owner/driver Scott Tucker who was challenging a P1 car throughout for overall grid position. The Kansas City resident’s set a best time of 47.007 seconds – just five tenths of a second behind Bouchut – but the No. 95 will not start the race tomorrow and Luis Diaz will therefore not be racing at Lime Rock Park.
With the strong likelihood of full course caution periods, because of the small nature of the track and the number of incidents that occur at Lime Rock Park, pit stop strategy is not always easy to predict. If the team runs both HPD ARX-03bs and, for whatever reason Scott goes over the regulated driving time allowed, the cars would be excluded from the race. Such an example would be a caution being called when Scott is due to pit but the pits are then closed for several more laps, and the gap between minimum and maximum driving time has been deemed too close for comfort at this event.
Bouchut said afterwards: “It’s a really good feeling to get a fourth pole position from four races. The Level 5 Motorsports team has given us an incredible car and we are 1st and 2nd in class. It’s great to start on pole here as it’s a short, tight track and the traffic will, as usual, be very bad. It’s a good start for the race.”
Source: Level 5 Motorsports