Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Pole For Albuquerque At Road America

Filipe Albuquerque won the Motul Pole Award on Saturday for the IMSA Fastlane SportsCar Weekend at Road America, gaining five precious points on the championship leaders in the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class heading into the penultimate race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.

Albuquerque was clocked at 1:48.915 seconds (133.799 mph) in the #10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05, allowing him and co-driver Ricky Taylor to gain on championship leaders Oliver Jarvis and Tom Blomqvist, who qualified third fastest in the #60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-05.

The pole let Albuquerque and Taylor trim the lead shared by Blomqvist and Jarvis to 51 points with just two races – Sunday and the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on Oct. 1 – remaining on the DPi schedule.

Immediately after crossing the timing line on his fifth lap of the session, Albuquerque told his crew it was enough to win the pole.

“I said, ‘This has got to be pole position because it just felt great,’” Albuquerque said. “Then I just shut up. On the in-lap, I said, ‘I don’t know if it’s going to hold up for P1 or not, but this was a great car.’ It was just a beautiful car.”

When Sebastien Bourdais slid off course in the #01 Cadillac Racing Cadillac DPi-VR with seconds left in the session, Albuquerque shook his fist in celebration while sitting in the pits.

Knowing rain is in the forecast Sunday played into his emotions about starting ahead of the field.

“It should be a rainy race,” Albuquerque said. “Starting from pole will help you through the first few corners with the spray and fewer incidents. It’s a bunch of things together. The tension and nervousness was there. I needed to execute when it counted.”

Alex Lynn had the second-fastest lap in DPi – 1:49.097 (133.576 mph) in the #02 Cadillac Racing Cadillac he shares with Earl Bamber. Blomqvist secured the third starting position with a lap of 1:49.841 (132.671 mph) in the #60 MSR Acura.


PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports put a stranglehold on Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) qualifying, with Steven Thomas and Patrick Kelly swapping the top spot throughout the session. In the end, it was Thomas in the #11 ORECA LMP2 07 taking the Motul Pole Award by 0.134 seconds over Kelly in the team’s #52 ORECA.

Thomas earned his fourth pole position in his second season of WeatherTech Championship competition. His best lap of 1:54.137 (127.677 mph) came with just under five minutes to go in the 15-minute session and held up. He admitted he wasn’t sure how he’d fare when qualifying started.

“We thought we had a good race car but we made quite a bit of changes from (Friday practice) to qualifying, so we didn’t know we had a good race car,” the 55-year-old from Missouri said. “When I was able to sail it through Turn 1, I thought, ‘We’ve got a good race car,’ so kudos to our engineer Tim Lewis and (team principal) Bobby Oergel, who’s also involved in all that stuff. They did a great job.”

Thomas credited co-driver Tristan Nunez with aiding the performance. The duo shared the #11 last year, winning the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. Jonathan Bomarito was Thomas’ teammate this year until stepping aside this weekend to allow Nunez to return. Nunez and Thomas watched video Friday night that helped Thomas improve his line through the Carousel.

“We’re very comfortable with each other,” Thomas said of Nunez, “and he knows the things to say to me to get me to do what I can do in a race car. It’s just great to have him around. I love JB (Bomarito) and gracious of them to work out what they did, but I love Tristan, too. It’s great to have him here.”

Dwight Merriman qualified third in the #18 Era Motorsport ORECA at 1:54.677. Merriman and co-driver Ryan Dalziel are the defending race winners. All six LMP2s qualified within 0.696 seconds of each other.


19 year old Dane Malthe Jakobsen took the class pole with an LMP3 track-record lap of 1:59.434 (122.015 mph) in the #33 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier JS P320 he co-drives with veteran Joao Barbosa.

“Joao is such a good teammate because he has so much experience,” Jakobsen said. “We push each other and learn from each other. Especially at the beginning of the year, at Daytona and Sebring, he helped me with managing all the traffic and competing in multiclass racing. He has so much experience from the faster categories. He can explain what happens when they get around you.”

Jarett Andretti had the second-fastest lap in LMP3 – 2:00.163 (121.274 mph) in the #36 Andretti Autosport Ligier he co-drives with Gabby Chaves. Gar Robinson secured P3 in the #74 Riley Motorsports Ligier he shares with Felipe Fraga.

Jakobsen, Barbosa and their Sean Creech Motorsport teammates have been discussing the possibility of rain in the race.

“It’s going to be tricky,” Jakobsen said. “I have some rain experience in the P3, but not much. But from racing Formula Fords in Denmark and Scandinavia, I do. It rains every second day there.”


Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat arrived at Road America believing their Lexus RC F GT3 would excel on the fast, sweeping corners of the iconic Wisconsin road course.

Their confidence was well-placed. Hawksworth earned the Motul Pole Award for the GTD PRO class in qualifying Saturday for the IMSA Fastlane SportsCar Weekend. The 31-year-old Englishman hustled the #14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus around the 4,048-mile circuit in 2:05.365 (116.242 mph).

It was the sixth career IMSA pole for Hawksworth. Six of his seven career race wins in the WeatherTech Championship have come in Lexus entries fielded by Vasser Sullivan.

He cited tire management as the key to his latest pole, as well as an important factor for Sunday’s two-hour, 40-minute race.

“The car has been working really well and it’s been a great weekend so far,” Hawksworth said. “The Michelin tires last for a full stint, but when you want that magic kind of lap time, you have to push when the tire is ‘in.’

“We used the first lap to build the tire temperature, and then obviously went for it on the second lap. It turned out to be the right strategy.”

Matt Campbell (#9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R) came closest to topping Hawksworth, but the Australian spun exiting the final corner while trying to complete a lap that live timing predicted could have been fast enough for pole.

Campbell’s best lap of 2:05.829 (116.008 mph) was good for the outside of the front row in the GTD PRO-leading car he shares with Mathieu Jaminet. Antonio Garcia (#3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R GTD) rounded out the top three at 2:05.828/115.814 mph.


Robby Foley prevented Vasser Sullivan from completing a GT qualifying sweep by putting the #96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 on the GT Daytona (GTD) pole, 0.140 seconds ahead of Frankie Montecalvo in the #12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3.

Foley, teamed with IMSA’s all-time career race winner Bill Auberlen in the #96, turned a lap of 2:06.084 (115.579 mph) for his third career pole. Robert Megennis qualified third after running 2:06.237 (115.439 mph) in the #39 CarBahn with Peregrine Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3.

Foley was pleased with the performance of the BMW M4, in its first year of homologation with the WeatherTech Championship. He said getting a perfect run through Canada Corner, the 12th of Road America’s 14 turns, which was key to his fast lap.

“Of course, it’s great to get pole,” Foley commented. “It just shows how hard these guys work to get our brand-new car well-developed and I’m loving it around Road America.”

An area of ​​concern for Auberlen and Foley is their lack of experience racing the M4 in wet conditions. There is a strong probability of rain for Sunday’s race.

“Normally I would love it, but we really haven’t driven this car too much in the rain,” Foley said. “We don’t know the recipe quite yet, but you’ve got to learn sometime, right?”

The prospect of rain doesn’t faze Hawksworth.

“Racing in the wet is always a bit of a lottery, but we’ve got two Brits in the car,” he joked. “So, I think we’ll be all right in the wet, and we’ll give it a good go.”

The green flag is scheduled to wave for the race at 11:40 am ET Sunday.

IMSA Road America qualifying

Comments are closed.