Fittipaldi adds to family history at Long Beach
Corvette DP captures first TOTAL Pole Award Of 2016
Long Beach, Calif. – Fast from the drop of the green flag, Christian Fittipaldi kept improving to give the Corvette DP its first TOTAL Pole Award of the season in Friday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying for the BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach.
Fittipaldi improved his best lap four times before posting a time of 1:14.962 (94.512 mph) in Action Express Racing’s No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP co-driven by Joao Barbosa. Fittipaldi edged out defending Long Beach winner Ricky Taylor by 0.171 seconds.
“There’s definitely a lot of history at Long Beach for myself and my family,” said Fittipaldi, who joined Barbosa in capturing the Prototype championship in both 2014 and 2015. “I’ve been coming here since ’95. (Uncle) Emerson has had success here. His last Formula One podium was here in 1980 in our own car (owned by Christian’s father Wilson Fittipaldi), and he’s had success here in Indy Cars. The California track in Fontana has been very good for me, but Long Beach has been hard for me and Action Express Racing. To stick a pole here at Long Beach is very important for me and my team.”
It was Fittipaldi’s third career TOTAL Pole Award, and first since winning the 2015 pole at Belle Isle in Detroit, the only other temporary circuit on the schedule.
“Starting on a pole on a street race definitely makes your life less hard,” Fittipaldi said. “I think we have a shot here – but it definitely won’t be easy.”
Taylor saved his best lap for last in the interrupted session, running 1:15.133 (94.297 mph) in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP co-driven by his brother Jordan. Third fastest was Tom Long, turning in the best qualifying effort for the Mazda Prototype with a lap of 1:15.641 (93.663 mph) in the No. 70 Castrol/ModSpace Mazda co-driven by Joel Miller.
The session was red flagged with 6:50 remaining when Marc Goossens spun in the hairpin in the No. 90 Visit Florida Racing Corvette DP and was hit by the No. 55 Mazda Prototype of Tristan Nunez. Qualifying resumed with 3:50 remaining, with Taylor’s fastest lap coming just before the checkered flag.
Goikhberg Awarded Pole In Shortened Prototype Challenge Session
Misha Goikhberg was awarded the pole for the WeatherTech Championship debut of the Prototype Challenge (PC) class at Long Beach following an abbreviated session.
Qualifying was red flagged with 7:10 remaining when Mark Kvamme came to a stop near the pit exit in the No. 88 Starworks Motorsport Popcorn Sutton ORECA FLM09 after contact with Robert Alon in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports entry. Kvamme sustained suspension damage and could not continue, and the incident could not be cleared before time expired in the qualifying session.
As a result, the PC grid was set by driver points. While Alon and co-driver Tom Kimber-Smith lead the PC standings, the car was moved to the back due to Alon being involved in the incident that brought out the red flag.
That moved the Rolex 24-winning No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports ORECA FLM09 of Goikhberg and Stephen Simpson to the pole. They will be joined on the front row by Alex Popow, who co-drives the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport entry with Renger van der Zande.
Prior to the stoppage, James French had the fastest early lap, running 1:17.910 (90.936 mph) in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports entry.
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|Location||Streets of Long Beach|
|Drivers||Christian Fittipaldi , Marc Goossens , Jordan Taylor , Tom Kimber-Smith , Tristan Nunez , Mikhail Goikhberg , Mark Kvamme|
|Teams||Starworks Motorsports , Action Express Racing , Spirit of Daytona Racing|