ELKHART LAKE, Wis. — Level 5 Motorsport’s Christophe Bouchut gave it everything he had in this afternoon’s 15-minute qualifying session for the seventh round of the American Le Mans Series at Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wis., but ultimately the No. 055 HPD ARX-03b had to settle for second place in the P2 class behind Martin Plowman in the Conquest Endurance Morgan-Nissan. Scott Tucker’s quickest time of 1:55.977 in the No. 95 Level 5 car – some 0.687s faster than last year’s pole – places him third in P2 and fifth on the overall grid for the four-hour race.
The battle for supremacy between the Frenchman and Englishman was the story of qualifying and the two duked it out lap after lap, breaking qualifying record after qualifying record. As the clock counted down towards the checker, Bouchut realized that he would have to concede defeat on this occasion, despite clocking a time that was 2.25 seconds quicker than his 2011 pole time.
“When I saw my lap time of 1:54.407 I thought, wow, that’s a great lap time,” commented Christophe, “but then Martin went just a bit quicker. I was on my limit, I couldn’t go any faster as it had been a pretty perfect lap. I’m happy with the car and we know that for longer races it’s not so important to be on pole but you know it’s always better to be at the front!”
The Level 5 team worked hard during the two one-hour practice sessions prior to qualifying to find the optimum set up for the cars. Scott Tucker, who today took a dominant Race 1 victory in the L2 category of the Cooper Tires Lites series, explained how the work carried out in practice helps define qualifying performance.
“With a track that’s a little over 4 miles long, and a lap time approaching two minutes, it’s hard to get a lot of laps here at Road America,” said the multiple title-winning national Champion. “We have both our cars running here so we tried slightly different set up packages on both, such as springs and aero settings, and then compared all the data. It was very productive and that meant we were able to go into qualifying with a well-balanced and fast race car. Fair play to Conquest for pole, it’s going to be another great race tomorrow.”
Four hours in length, the Road Race Showcase is considered to be an “intermediate race” offering an enhanced points structure to reward teams, drivers and manufacturers for going the extra distance. Two additional points will be added to the traditional points score for each finishing position at Road America, valuable numbers which can make all the difference to championship standings as the season gets well into its second half.
Scott Tucker will be challenging for further victories in two IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge races and the second of the Cooper Lites events before tomorrow’s main event. There will also be a 30-minute warm up tomorrow morning for the 35 ALMS entrants.
The next round of the ALMS will be the Road Race Showcase at Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis., on Saturday, August 18. The four-hour race will start at 2:30pm (CT) (3:30 pm ET) and will be shown on ESPN2.
Source: Level 5 Motorsports