Braun, Pumpelly join trio as class pole winners for Northeast Grand Prix
LAKEVILLE, Conn. (July 5, 2013) - Lucas Luhr sizzled in 93-degree heat at Lime Rock Park on Friday, running a lap of 44.396 seconds (119.524 mph) to in the No. 6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD ARX-03c to capture the pole position for Saturday’s American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix (ESPN2, Live, 3 p.m. ET).
It was Luhr’s first pole in 2013 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón competition. The No. 6 Muscle Milk entry shared by Luhr and Klaus Graf, will be joined on the front row by the No. 16 Dyson Racing Mazda/Thetford/Norcold Lola B12/60-Mazda of Chris Dyson and Guy Smith. Dyson qualified with a lap of 45.243 seconds (117.287 mph).
For Luhr, the key to winning Saturday will be negotiating traffic on the challenging 1.5-mile circuit.
“We have by far the quickest car on the track,” said Luhr, after winning his 20th career ALMS pole. “We’ll get two or three good quick laps at the beginning of the race if we’re lucky, but then we’re stuck in traffic all day long. The big job is to stay calm, don’t go crazy in traffic and wait for our chances.”
Starting third in the P1 class will be the No. 0 DeltaWing LM12-Elan, which will be shared by Andy Meyrick and Katherine Legge.
John Edwards got his first opportunity to qualify in ALMS competition on Friday, and the BMW Team RLL driver came through to win the pole and lead a front-row sweep for BMW. Edwards ran a lap of 50.996 seconds (104.055 mph) in the No. 56 BMW North America/Crowne Plaza BMW Z4 GTE co-driven by Dirk Muller.
Teammate Maxime Martin took second with a lap of 51.157 seconds (103.728 mph) in the No. 55 BMW co-driven by Bill Auberlen. Taking third was Oliver Gavin, running 51.490 (103.057 mph) in the No. 4 Corvette Racing Compuware Corvette C6 ZR1 co-driven by Tommy Milner.
“We knew the car was going to be quick here,” Edwards said. “We’ve been good in practice and qualifying, so I think we can fight to stay up there for the race. If we can work through the traffic – which will be a nightmare here – we can fight for the win.”
Ryan Briscoe led a 1-2 sweep for Level 5 Motorsports and set a new P2 qualifying record, running a lap of 46.191 seconds (114.880 mph) in the No. 551 Siemens/Alpina Watches/Ohiya Casino Resort HPD ARX-03b. Teammate Marino Franchitti qualified second in the team’s No. 552 entry with a lap of 46.428 seconds. Team owner Scott Tucker will drive both cars in the race.
“It was surprising how much quicker we went in qualifying than in practice,” Briscoe said. “It was a whole second quicker – and around this place, a second is a ton.”
Briscoe will drive to Pennsylvania following Saturday’s race, and will start Sunday’s inaugural IZOD IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway from the back row.
Johannes van Overbeek qualified third in the class with a lap of 46.729 in the No. 01 Extreme Speed Motorsports Tequila Patrón HPD-ARX-03b.
Prototype Challenge presented by Continental Tire (PC)
Colin Braun was concerned when CORE autosport teammate Jonathan Bennett tangled with Patrick Dempsey’s GTC class Porsche in the closing minutes of Friday’s final practice only one hour prior to qualifying. The team made the necessary repairs, and Braun went out and captured his third Prototype Challenge presented by Continental Tire pole of the season – and fifth of his career – with a lap of 48.078 seconds (110.371 mph) in the No. 05 Composite Resources Oreca FLM09.
“That shows a real championship-class team,” Braun said. “The damage wasn’t too bad, but it certainly required quite a bit of work that these guys had to do in a short amount of time. All the work they do back at the shop really came to fruition today. We have a very fast race car, and I feel confident for tomorrow.”
Bruno Junqueira qualified second in the No. 9 RSR Racing Oreca FLM09 co-driven by Duncan Ende, 48.078 seconds, followed by Kyle Marcelli in the No. 8 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca FLM09 co-driven by Chris Cumming, 48.403 seconds.
After running a quick lap of 55.155 seconds (96.209 mph) early in his session, Spencer Pumpelly brought the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Venezuela/eSilicon Porsche 911 GT3 Cup to pit road to wait on the competition.
As it turned out, Pumpelly didn’t to turn any more laps, as that one was good enough to give him his second career ALMS class pole and first since Mid-Ohio in 2011.
“We were planning on hanging out and then going out and taking a last shot at the pole, but looking at the times, we decided to sit it out,” Pumpelly said. “We’re here to win the race, but it’s certainly great to get the pole. The team has done a lot of work during the break to get a better understanding of how this car works, and I think it showed today.”
Jeroen Bleekemolen’s bid for a third consecutive pole came up short when he qualified second in the No. 22 Alex Job Racing WeatherTech Porsche co-driven by Cooper MacNeil, 55.317 seconds. He was followed by Damien Faulkner in the No. 66 TRG Porsche co-driven by Ben Keating, and Andy Lally in the No. 27 Dempsey Del Piero Racing Tully’s Coffee Porsche co-driven by Patrick Dempsey.