Albuquerque, Hawksworth claim Road America IMSA poles

Albuquerque, Hawksworth claim Road America IMSA poles

Filipe Albuquerque put in a blistering lap to claim pole position for tomorrow’s 2h40 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with a 1m48.915s in the Wayne Taylor Racing Acura — the only driver breaking into the 48s as he averaged 133.8mph around the 4.048-mile, 14-turn circuit. Albuquerque was nearly a second clear of WTR’s championship rival, the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb Agajanian Acura, which Tom Blomqvist qualified in third.

“As I went , the car was just amazing,” said Albuquerque. “I was super happy about it. When the first lap was already very, very decent – it was a 9.3s, three-tenths faster than then ever before here for me — so the second lap, I just pushed harder. I never do this but I was feeling so happy in the car that I just opened the radio, ‘This has got to be pole position because it felt right, it felt right.’”

Alex Lynn split the Acuras in the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac with a 1m49.097s lap as teammate Sebastien Bourdais threw the No. 01 off the track in Turn 14, bringing out a red flag and ending the session. Bourdais will start last among the DPi competitors, behind the No. 5 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac qualified by Richard Westbrook and the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac (Olivier Pla). Bourdais and Renger van der Zande had an outside shot at the championship, but closing the gap to the Acuras will be much more difficult now.

“It’s a real shame,” said Bourdais. “The car was wonderful. The guys gave us a rocket ship again. I did one prep lap and went for it. Essentially, it was a clean lap and I was going really strong; probably lit up all the sectors. Just got to that last corner and I got in there with quite a bit more speed and took the bump and the front just jumped on the white line and I just sabotaged myself. From there, once you’re on the white line and touch the grass it’s no getting past it. Tomorrow is obviously going to be a different scenario. We knew that all along and we focused on qualifying because full tanks wasn’t really a priority. We knew it was going to be wet tomorrow and the goal was to start on pole with a clear view. Now we have some work to do.”

The No. 11 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA will start on the LMP2 pole after Steven Thomas qualified with a a 1m54.137s lap, edging teammate Patrick Kelly in the No. 51 ORECA by 0.134s. Dwight Merriman qualified the No. 18 ERA Motorsport ORECA that co-driver Ryan Dalziel had put at the top of the time sheets in practice at 1m54.677s and will start third.

Malthe Jakobsen, subbing for Lance Willsey in the No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsports Ligier that he has been driving in the endurance races, including a win at Sebring, scored the LMP3 pole in his first visit to Road America. Jakobsen was the only driver in the 59s, with a 1m59.434s lap, 0.729s ahead of Jarett Andretti in the No. 36 Andretti Autosport Ligier. Gar Robinson was third in LMP3 with a 2m0.969s lap in the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier.

No. 14: VasserSullivan, Lexus RC F, GT3, GTD PRO: Jack Hawksworth wins Motul pole award. Richard Dole/Lumen

Jack Hawksworth claimed pole for GTD PRO, and overall among the GTD cars, in the No. 14 VasserSullivan Lexus RC F GT3 that rolled to a stop with fuel problems in yesterday’s first practice session. Hawksworth’s 2m5.365s lap, good for a 116.24mph average, was 0.25s quicker than Matt Campbell in the Pfaff Motorsport Porsche. As the session was ending, Campbell had just posted the best time in the second timing sector, but pushed the No. 9 Porsche too hard and spun in the final turn, ending his bid for pole. That left Hawksworth excited about starting up front, especially with the weather for tomorrow’s race being unpredictable.

“Obviously in the dry you want the track position but also in the wet, it’s nice to have a clear view going into Turn 1,” he said. “We rolled off fast and we kept working on the car, made it a little bit better overnight for a performance run today. I think a lot of the performance over one lap comes from understanding the tire, how you prep the tires and everything.”

Antonio Garcia qualified third in the No. 3 Corvette, posting a time of 2m5.829s to start inside the second row. The other GTD PRO contenders were back among the GTD cars, with John Edwards in the BMW M Team RLL BMW M4 GT3 fourth and the No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage in the hands of Alex Riberas fifth.

Robby Foley hit the peak of his Michelin tires correctly to claim the GTD pole, and will start the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 on the outside of the second row, fourth of the GTD cars overall at 2m6.084s.

“We set the car up to be peaky for qualifying,” Foley explained. “I think that’s what you need around here. Basically, you’ve got to bring it right into the window and then then go because there is a drop after a couple laps. So for us, it was key to do it on flying lap two or three. If you go longer than five, you’re really out of the window. I think that’s why we kind of nailed it on that one lap. There was a little bit left, but it was good enough.”

Frankie Montecalvo just missed making it a double pole for VasserSullivan, putting the No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3 in second, 0.140s shy of Foley’s time. Robert Megennis, who has been near the top of the time sheets all weekend in the No. 39 CarBahn with Peregrine Racing Lamborghini Huracán put that car into third in GTD and will start outside the third row. It was two Mercedes-AMGs rounding out the top five, GTD championship leader Stevan McAleer in the No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports machine in fourth, and Russell Ward fifth in the Winward Racing No. 57.

Two teams were assessed penalties for the drivers exiting their cars in pit lane. The No. 42 NTE/SSR Lamborghini and the No. 51 Rick Ware Racing Acura will both start at the back having lost all their times for the session.

Up Next: The 2h40m IMSA Fastlane SportsCar Weekend, starting at 10:40 a.m. Central / 11:40 a.m. Eastern time. The race will be streamed on Peacock in its entirety, with live coverage on USA Network beginning at noon Eastern.