Johnny O'Connell puts Cadillac on PWC GT pole

Edges out Beretta and Ferrari for top spot.

Johnny O'Connell of Flowery Branch, Ga., driving the No. 3 Cadillac Racing ATS-VR GT3 scored the GT pole for Saturday's Round 8 race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (1:15.296, 117.568 mph). Frank Montecalvo, of Highlands, N.J. took the pole in GTA in the No. 66 DragonSpeed Bayshore Racing Mercedes Benz AMG SLS GT3 (1:15.855, 116.701 mph) and Colin Thompson, of Doylestown, Pa. aboard the No. 11 Porsche of Bucks County/PenVal/ Porsche 911 GT3 Cup claimed the MOMO GT Cup pole position (1:20.076, 110.550 mph).

GT, GTA and GT Cup drivers are set to compete in Rounds 8 and 9 in the Remo Ferri Group Canadian Grand Prix presented by Replay XD, part of the Victoria Day SpeedFest weekend. Friday's 40-minute qualifying session (split into two separate run group 20-minute qualifying sessions) was held under overcast skies and a cool 55 degrees at the 2.458 mile, 10-turn permanent road course east of Toronto.

The first qualifying group consisted of the full GT Cup field, a number of GTA competitors, and a lone GT class competitor (Ryan Eversley of Atlanta, Ga, in No. 43 RealTime/Acura Motorsports/HPD/ Acura TLX-GT). Run groups were established based on times recorded in Friday's morning practice.

The GT Cup field was able to work quickly toward their fastest lap times during their 20-minute session. Thompson made lap three the lap that would stand as the class fast lap time. Behind him on the same lap three, Lorenzo Trefethen, of Napa, Calif. in the No. 13 ANSA Trefethen Family Vineyards Porsche 911 GT3 Cup posted his best lap time of 1:21.504 that would place him in second for the class. However, Sloan Urry, of Salt Lake City, Utah in the No. 02 Engel & Voelkers Porsche 911 GT3 Cup quickly moved up into second place with his 1:21.376 time on lap four. This top three of Thompson, Urry, and Trefethen remained the top three in class for the remainder of the session.

Fuentes fast

Among the GTA competitors in the first run group, Martin Fuentes, of Mexico City, Mexico driving the No. 07 Scuderia Corsa Hublot/Samsung/ Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia posted a 1:17.079 bettering the times of Tim Pappas, of Boston, Mass. in the No. 54 Dodge Viper GT3R (1:17.276) and Dan Knox, Pilot Point, Texas with his No. 80 Lone Star Racing ACS MFG Dodge Viper GT3R. The overall top three for the GTA class would be decided in the second run group with Montecalvo's  1:15.855 taking the pole on his fifth flying lap. Bryan Heitkotter, Fresno, Calif., in the No. 05 AE Replay XD Nissan GT Academy Nissan GT-R GT-3 would also post his fastest lap of the session on lap five to claim second in GTA. On his 14th lap in the second run group, Henrique Cisneros, of Miami, Fla. in the No. 30 MOMO Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia posted the third quick time to lock in the top three for GTA.

Early on during the second 20-minute run group, a number of competitors pushed to put in a fast lap time that they hoped would stay at the top of the charts. However, on lap six the top two times posted would stand for the session. O'Connell's 1:15.296 bettered the time set by Olivier Beretta, Monte Carlo, Monaco in the No. 61 R. Ferri Ferrari Ontario/Toronto/Alberta Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia of 1:15.493. Butch Leitzinger, of Rebersburg, Pa. with his No. 20 Dyson Racing Breitling/Mobil 1 Bentley Continental GT3 moved into third on the grid on his seventh lap with a 1:15.526. Leitzinger's time pushed Kevin Estre, of Lochau, Austria in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing Pfaff Automotive/McLaren Toronto McLaren 650S GT3 narrowly back to fourth (1:15.586).

“What a great way to reward this hard working Cadillac Racing team,” O’Connell said. “We have had luck over the past few years on our side, it hasn’t worked in our favor once this year, but it has finally come right. I can’t thank everyone enough for all of the work to come back from the fire and put the hours into a car that is now on the pole. I’ve been racing here longer than a lot of the guys I am competing against have been alive. It was probably one of the best laps I have ever driven at this track. I knew I had to dig deep, carry the momentum and just float the car through the corners. It is a neat thing when you have an idea of how good a lap is coming together, it could be good, it could be good and it was a good one. I was pretty pleased with the lap.”

Of note in the session the overall GT top 10 contained seven different manufacturers (Cadillac, Ferrari, Bentley, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Audi). The pole position for O'Connell is his 1st for 2015 but 14th career Pirelli World Challenge pole position. This is Cadillac's second pole position for 2015 (Pilgrim at St. Petersburg). Montecalvo in GTA claimed his fourth pole position and the fourth pole for DragonSpeed of 2015. Thompson claimed his and Kelly Moss' seventh pole position for 2015.

Results are provisional until posted final. GT/GTA/GT-Cup Round 8 is scheduled for Saturday at 1:15 p.m. EDT. Watch live streaming of the race at world-challengetv.com or torque.tv.

BOWMANVILLE, ON - Starting lineup for Saturday's Pirelli World Challenge Championship GT/GTA/GT Cup Round 8 race, part of the Remo Ferri Group GP prsntd by Replay XD at CTMP, with position, class, car number in parentheses, driver,
hometown, car, fastest lap time, and speed in miles per hour.

1, GT, (3), Johnny O'Connell, Flowery Branch, Ga., Cadillac ATS-VR GT3, 1:15.296, 117.568.
2, GT, (61), Olivier Beretta, Monte Carlo, Monaco, Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, 1:15.493, 117.261.
3, GT, (20), Butch Leitzinger, Rebersburg, Pa., Bentley Continental GT3, 1:15.526, 117.210.
4, GT, (9), Kevin Estre, Lochau Austria, , McLaren 650S GT3, 1:15.586, 117.117.
5, GT, (16), Chris Dyson, Pleasant Valley, N.Y., Bentley Continental GT3, 1:15.828, 116.743.
6, GT, (6), Robert Thorne, Littleton, Colo., McLaren 650S GT3, 1:15.853, 116.704.
7, GT, (66), Frank Montecalvo(A), Highlands, N.J., Mercedes Benz AMG SLS GT3, 1:15.855, 116.701.
8, GT, (8), Andy Pilgrim, Boca Raton, Fla., Cadillac ATS-VR GT3, 1:15.957, 116.544.
9, GT, (41), Michael Lewis(R), Laguna Beach, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3R, 1:15.958, 116.543.
10, GT, (2), Mike Skeen, Charlotte, N.C., Audi R8 LMS Ultra, 1:15.968, 116.528.
11, GT, (33), JD Davison, St Petersburg, Fla., Nissan GT-R GT3, 1:16.001, 116.477.
12, GT, (05), Bryan Heitkotter(A), Fresno, Calif., Nissan GT-R GT3, 1:16.048, 116.405.
13, GT, (31), Ryan Dalziel, Windermere, Fla., Porsche 911 GT3R, 1:16.125, 116.287.
14, GT, (42), Peter Cunningham, Milwaukee, Wis., Acura TLX-GT, 1:16.584, 115.590.
15, GT, (30), Henrique Cisneros(A), Miami, Fla., Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, 1:16.758, 115.328.
16, GT, (64), Duncan Ende, Los Angeles, Calif., Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, 1:16.864, 115.169.
17, GT, (43), Ryan Eversley, Atlanta, Ga., Acura TLX-GT, 1:16.912, 115.097.
18, GT, (07), Martin Fuentes(A), Mexico City, MX, Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, 1:17.079, 114.848.
19, GT, (08), Eric Lux(A), Buffalo, N.Y., Mercedes Benz AMG SLS GT3, 1:17.104, 114.811.
20, GT, (7), Christina Nielsen(R)(A), Aarhus Denmark, , Aston Martin Vantage GT3, 1:17.213, 114.649.
21, GT, (54), Timothy Pappas(A), Boston, Mass., Dodge Viper GT3R, 1:17.276, 114.555.
22, GT, (80), Dan Knox(A), Pilot Point, Texas, Dodge Viper GT3-R, 1:17.400, 114.372.
23, GT, (10), Henrik Hedman(A), Ft Lauderdale, Fla., MercedesBenzAMG SLS GT3, 1:17.460, 114.283.
24, GT, (32), Bret Curtis(A), Austin, Texas, BMW E89 Z4 GT3, 1:17.879, 113.668.
25, GT, (62), Marc Muzzo, Toronto, Canada, Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, 1:18.288, 113.074.
26, GT, (99), Jeff Courtney(A), Milwaukee, Wis., Audi R8 LMS Ultra, 1:18.919, 112.170.
27, GT, (95), Bill Ziegler(A), Ponte Vedra, Fla., BMW E89 Z4 GT3, 1:19.455, 111.414.
28, GT, (19), Drew Regitz(A), Denver, Colo., Audi R8 LMS Ultra, 1:20.092, 110.528.
29, GT, (65), Mike Hedlund, Woodside, Calif., Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, no time.
30, GTC, (11), Colin Thompson, Doylestown, Pa., Porsche 911 GT3 CUP, 1:20.076, 110.550.
31, GTC, (02), Sloan Urry, Salt Lake City, Utah, Porsche 911 GT3 CUP, 1:21.376, 108.784.
32, GTC, (13), Lorenzo Trefethen(R), Napa, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3 CUP, 1:21.504, 108.613.
33, GTC, (29), Eduardo Cisneros(R), Miami, Fla., Porsche 911 GT3 CUP, 1:21.559, 108.539.
34, GTC, (97), Mitch Landry, Lake Charles, La., Porsche 911 GT3 CUP, 1:22.424, 107.400.
35, GTC, (77), Preston Calvert(R), Potomac, Md., Porsche 911 GT3 CUP, 1:22.722, 107.013.
36, GTC, (18), Phil Fogg_Jr, Portland, Ore., Porsche 911 GT3 CUP, 3:17.471, 44.828.
37, GTC, (81), Victor Gomez(R), San Juan, Puerto Rico, Porsche 911 GT3 CUP, no time.

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About this article
Series PWC
Event Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Track Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Drivers Butch Leitzinger , Johnny O'Connell , Olivier Beretta , Martin Fuentes
Article type Qualifying report
Tags bmw, cadillac, chevrolet, ferrari, mazda