Level 5 claims P2 pole at Mid-Ohio

#055 Level 5 Motorsports HPD ARX-03b Honda: Scott Tucker, Christophe Bouchut
#055 Level 5 Motorsports HPD ARX-03b Honda: Scott Tucker, Christophe Bouchut

Photo by: Art Fleischmann

In the intense heat and humidity of North Eastern America, Level 5 Motorsport’s Christophe Bouchut today recorded his 8th ALMS P2 pole and third of the year at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, placing the championship leaders in the best possible position for potential victory in tomorrow’s sixth round of the 2012 American Le Mans Series.

The Frenchman flew to a fastest time of 1:13.230, half a second faster than the Conquest Endurance Morgan-Nissan in second place, placing Level 5’s No.055 Honda HPD ARX-03b in fourth place overall for the two hour 45 minute race, just a few places ahead of Scott Tucker in the No.95 entry. This weekend there are four P2 cars competing and, while the level of competition has been raised once again because of the increased car count, Scott Tucker was the only Silver-rated driver in qualifying and performed admirably. His time of 1:14.791 places him 7th on the overall grid.

In a packed schedule – the ALMS is sharing the bill with the IndyCar Series amongst others at Mid-Ohio – Level 5 was on track for a test session yesterday and two one-hour practices today prior to qualifying. The team’s aim was primarily to find a good balance for the HPD but also to familiarise new driver Ricardo Gonzalez with the HPD. This included finding the tall Mexican a comfortable driving position and allowing him enough laps to get used to the feel of the engine which differs from his regular WEC mount.

Christophe Bouchut said immediately after qualifying: “I am very happy because it’s my second pole position at Mid-Ohio and it’s where I scored my 100th race win a couple of years ago. It’s a special place for me. The competition is very tight so it’s important to be on the pole. We have a good car and we want to put on a good show for the race but we still have everything to do tomorrow. We must not make any mistakes – the pit crew, the engineers and of course the drivers – everyone has to be at the max and pushing hard to keep us in the lead.”

The 2.25 mile/13-turn Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course has been the venue for countless classic sports car races in the past and, in the eyes of many, is a driver’s track. Repaved in 2006, the layout is technical with a mixture of medium and low speed corners. The surface is smooth, with big, flat curbs which give a gain if they can be used – although overtaking opportunities are limited which is why a good qualifying position is so important. While everyone hopes that the storms experienced 12 months ago won’t be seen again, the weather is often variable and is another factor to be taken into account when preparing race strategy.

Scott Tucker will start the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge for the ALMS tomorrow in the No.055 and finish in the No.95, which Ricard Gonzalez will start.

Source: Level 5 Motorsports

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Christophe Bouchut , Ricardo Gonzalez , Scott Tucker
Article type Qualifying report
Tags bouchut, honda, hpd, level 5, tucker