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IMSA MID-OHIO QUALIFYING ROUND UP

Porsche 911 RSR again starts from the first grid row in Mid-Ohio

The Porsche GT Team has continued its good run in qualifying for round four of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. In the hunt for top times for the race in Lexington, Ohio (USA), the Belgian Laurens Vanthoor turned the second quickest lap in his ca. 510 hp Porsche 911 RSR with the starting number 912. After claiming pole position at Daytona, Sebring and Long Beach, a 911 from Weissach once again starts from the first grid row. In the No. 911 sister car, Patrick Pilet (France) achieved the eighth quickest time.

The qualifying at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course took place under difficult conditions. After rain in the morning, the track gradually dried during the 15-minute session. With each lap, the track condition improved and times got quicker minute by minute. Laurens Vanthoor, who shares the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR with Earl Bamber (New Zealand), was only beaten to pole in the final seconds after a gripping duel. His factory driver colleague, who shares driving duties at the wheel of the No. 911 car with Nick Tandy (Great Britain), never quite got the tyres into the ideal operating range and was thus unable to fight for a top position.

In the GTD class, the new Porsche 911 GT3 R once again underlined its huge potential. Zacharie Robichon took an early lead in the hunt for times, only to be beaten to pole by another competitor at the very end of the session. However, due to a belated drive-through penalty, the fastest lap time was cancelled. As a result, the vehicle was relegated from second to fifth place. For the race, the Canadian shares the cockpit of the No. 9 vehicle with his compatriot Scott Hargrove. Marco Seefried (Germany) experienced bad luck at the wheel of the identical 500+hp GT3 vehicle fielded by the customer team Park Place Motorsports. The German encountered a puddle on his first flying lap and slid onto the grass. This resulted in a red-flag period and the team’s fastest lap times were deleted. Because of this, the No. 73 Porsche 911 GT3 R, which is shared by works driver Patrick Long (USA), starts from position 15.

Qualifying quotes
Steffen Höllwarth (Programme Manager IMSA SportsCar Championship): “The improving conditions made this qualifying thrilling to the last second. Laurens was in the lead until the end of the session, but then a Ford snatched pole position from us. It’s the first time we’ve not started from pole this season, but the starting position for our number 912 car is still very good. We have to take a look at the sister car to see why the tyre temperatures never quite reached the optimal window at the right time. The race will be very interesting. Slicks haven’t been used much so far this weekend. Race day is supposed to be dry, so tyre management will be a crucial factor.”

Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “The track didn’t offer much grip, so it took attack mode and many fast laps to get the tyres up to the required temperature. I had to go flat-out in every lap – it was like a race. In my opinion, we have a perfect starting spot for round four. More than second place wasn’t possible today. We aim to go for victory in the race so that we can expand our top position in the championship.”

Patrick Pilet (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “That was a disappointing qualifying for me. In the last two hot laps, just as the track was at its best and things got serious, suddenly the balance wasn’t as good as it had been. For this reason I couldn’t do better today. Race day is predicted to stay dry. So far, no one has enough experience on slicks, so this will be our chance to make up positions during the race. If we manage our tyres well, anything is possible.”

Zacharie Robichon (Porsche 911 GT3 R #9): “Under these difficult conditions, our Porsche 911 GT3 R was a real rocket. I definitely had a chance at pole, but we had to come in for a drive-through penalty in qualifying. This meant I couldn’t do improve on my lap time when the track offered the most grip at the end. It’s a bit of a shame, but position five is definitely a decent starting position for the race.”

Marco Seefried (Porsche 911 GT3 R #73): “At the exit of the second corner I drove on wet grass and that was the end of that. I got stuck in a run-off area and the car had to be pushed out by helpers. After that there was only time for two fast laps, and those were the lap times that were annulled because I’d caused a red-flag phase. It’s a pity because I was fifth fastest. Still, despite the bad luck in qualifying, the performance gives us confidence for the race.”

Qualifying result
GTLM class
1. Müller/Bourdais (D/F), Ford GT, 1:19.124 minutes
2. Bamber/Vanthoor (NZ/B), Porsche 911 RSR, 1:19,339 minutes
3. Krohn/Edwards (FIN/USA), BMW M8 GTE, 1:19.623 minutes
8. Pilet/Tandy (F/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 1:20.098 minutes

GTD class
1. Heistand/Hawksworth (USA/GB), Lexus RC F GT3, 1:24,281 minutes
2. Keating/Bleekemolen (USA/NL), Mercedes-AMG GT3, 1:26,109 minutes
3. Montecalvo/Bell (USA/USA), Lexus RC F GT3, 1:26,451 minutes
5. Hargrove/Robichon (CAN/CAN), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 1:27,113 minutes
15. Long/Seefried (USA/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R, no lap time

Source. Porsche

BMW Team RLL Qualifies Third and Sixth at Mid-Ohio

BMW Team RLL will start tomorrow’s two-hour-and-forty-minute IMSA Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio from the third and sixth GTLM class qualifying positions, looking to improve on last season’s second place finish in this event.

With a 1:19.623 minute lap around the 2.4-mile, 15-turn natural terrain circuit, Jesse Krohn qualified the No. 24 BMW M8 GTE in third, only .499 second from the pole sitting No. 66 Ford GT. He will co-drive tomorrow with John Edwards, the duo sharing their second season together. Connor DePhillippi will start the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE from the sixth position after posting a 1:19.893 minute lap. He will co-drive with Tom Blomqvist tomorrow. The entire GTLM field qualified within .902 seconds ensuring a very competitive contest.

The 20-minute session was declared “flexible” by the race stewards because of the changeable weather conditions meaning teams could choose from the complete selection of wet or dry Michelin tires available.

“Since the track was still drying, you could pick wet or dry tries and everyone ran dry tires.” said Brandon Fry, “The track just kept getting better throughout the session and we thought that would be the case. It’s was about who would be out at the end of the session with the driest track and the best opportunity. The No. 25 car was pretty close and it gives us a good starting spot for tomorrow and we are looking forward to a good race.”

In today’s prior session, Rob Foley qualified the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 in the sixth GTD class starting position with a 1:27.152 minute lap. He will co-drive tomorrow with Bill Auberlen who will be making his 416th start in a BMW – the most of any driver in the world.

Jesse Krohn, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE (P3): “A solid qualifying. We were just lacking a little bit at the end. It seemed that whoever was going to be last over the line would get it. We got the most out of our tires today and solid job by the team. It’s going to be a long race tomorrow and from P3, anything is possible.”

Connor DePhillippi, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE (P6): “It was tricky conditions in qualifying and obviously not ideal to start in P6 but I did the best I could with our set up today. I think we will be in a better position tomorrow as overall, the car is good. I will try to get a clean start and hopefully, with a bit of luck and the right strategy we can work our way to the front.”

Source. BMW

Fifth Row Start for Hindman in Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio

After seeing just about every season over the course of a few hours on Saturday morning, it all came down to qualifying which saw Trent Hindman drive the No. 86 AutoNation / Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) Acura NSX GT3 to tenth for Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio (Live NBCSN 1:30pm ET).

The No. 86 Acura got off to a quick start with Hindman and Mario Farnbacher putting the pink Acura on the top of the timing sheets for the first and third practice rounds.

Strong pace during the final practice session on Saturday set the Acura up for a solid result during qualifying.

Just moments ahead of qualifying the track’s conditions went from wet to dry and it became a last-minute decision for tire strategy. With decades of experience at the track, the team anticipated the conditions would continue and went for Michelin rain tires. Unfortunately, a surprise break in the weather teamed with a rising wind meant that the track dried with every lap. With IMSA rules not allowing any changes to the cars, including tires, the gambit didn’t pay off as the rain tires proved to be the slower option.

“I feel for our Meyer Shank Racing team because we all thought it was going to remain damp during that session and collectively we thought we were making the right call on our tire strategy,” said Hindman. “As Mid-Ohio does, it’ll throw you for a loop and the track dried way faster than we had expected. Either way I know we have a fantastic car in the dry, we proved it in practice. And I know we have a fantastic car in wet conditions as well. We are going to have some work to do at the start of the race tomorrow, but I have no doubts that our AutoNation / MSR Acura NSX GT3 is going to make a charge to the front.”

The No. 86 MSR Acura had changed its livery for the Mid-Ohio race weekend, displaying a new pink paint scheme joining in on AutoNation’s ‘Drive Pink’ campaign in the fight against breast cancer. MSR also has its homecoming with tomorrow’s race marking the 13th time that the team has raced at its home track in sports car competition.

“Qualifying was a little bit disappointing today,” said Mike Shank. “The weather changed so quickly and we talked as a team and really thought it would be best to stay on wets. Although it’s not an ideal starting spot we have some good pace in both the wet and dry and Mario and Trent have been knocking it out of the park so far this weekend.”

Source. Sunday Group

Acura Team Penske Qualifying Report

No. 6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 DPi – Dane Cameron/Juan Pablo Montoya

Practice 3:

Position: 2nd

Time / Speed: 1:13.563 seconds / 110.500 mph

Qualifying

Driver: Dane Cameron

Position: 3rd

Time / Speed: 1:10.806 seconds / 114.803 mph

No. 7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 DPi – Helio Castroneves/Ricky Taylor

Practice 3:

Position: 1st

Time / Speed: 1:12.737 seconds / 111.755 mph

Qualifying

Driver: Helio Castroneves

Position: 2nd

Time / Speed: 1:10.727 seconds / 114.931 mph

Fast Practice 3 Time: 1:12.737 seconds (No. 7 – Castroneves)

Fast Qualifier: 1:10.705 seconds (No. 77 – Oliver Jarvis)

Recap: Acura Team Penske came close to making it two front row lockouts in a row at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course during the Saturday afternoon qualifying session for Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge. The duo of Helio Castroneves and Dane Cameron ultimately came up one position short by qualifying in the second and third positions, respectively. For Castroneves it was a great run after damaging his front wing on the first lap when the No. 5 car unexpectedly hit his brakes in front of last year’s pole winner. Cameron, too, was contacted by other competitors, but was able to place his Acura solidly in the field. Both the No. 6 and No. 7 Acura Prototypes will start in prime positions to go for a second-consecutive 1-2 finish in the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio.

Source. Acura Team Penske

CORVETTE RACING AT MID-OHIO: Milner Charges to Second-Row Starting Spot

Corvette Racing will look for more championship points and its 100th IMSA victory Sunday from the second and fourth rows of the GT Le Mans category following qualifying for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio.

Tommy Milner paced Corvette Racing’s efforts in Saturday’s time trials. He qualified fourth in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R that he shares with Oliver Gavin. The duo are coming off a third-place finish in the team’s most recent race at Long Beach, Calif., in which Corvette Racing scored a double-podium finish.

Milner’s best time Saturday was a 1:19.721 (101.965 mph) lap that put him within 0.597 seconds of the GTLM pole-winning time. Teammate Jan Magnussen was less than 0.3 seconds adrift in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R that qualified seventh. His best time was 1:19.919 (101.712 mph).

Magnussen and Antonio Garcia finished second at Long Beach and were third at year ago at Mid-Ohio to start their push to the eventual GTLM Driver’s Championship – Corvette Racing’s third in a row. On Saturday, Magnussen was one of five GTLM drivers to hold provisional pole position during the session. At one point in a five-minute span, five drivers swapped pole position nine times.

Friday and Saturday was filled with changing weather conditions between warm and dry and downright cold and wet. Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session marked the best conditions of the weekend with things expected to improve for Sunday’s two-hour, 40-minute race.

Corvette Racing has won eight times at Mid-Ohio – the most of any entrant in the series. It also is IMSA’s most successful team with 99 all-time victories.

The Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio begins at 1:40 p.m. ET on Sunday. It will air on live on NBC Sports Network and the NBC Sports app starting at 1:30 p.m. Live audio coverage of practices, qualifying and the race from IMSA Radio is available on IMSA.com.

TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED FOURTH IN GTLM: “It seemed like initially we were good. I was P2 for a little while there, but as it went on we fell back a little bit. We missed a little bit on the tire pressures, and the track is in a weird spot with all the rain the last two days, being a little dry this morning and then more rain after our practice. So a lot of it today was feeling it out and trying to figure out where you can go quick and where you can’t. Eighth place didn’t sound good; I cooled my tires for one more shot at it. Honestly, you are being a little careful right now in these conditions in some places. So I threw caution to the wind a little bit. If I went off at Turn Four and braked too late, I was going to be no worse off. In the end, fourth is a good starting spot for our Corvette C7.R. It’s difficult to pass here, so the farther up the grid the better it will be for the race. Now we have to execute on the track and in the pitlane then see where we end up tomorrow.”

JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED SEVENTH IN GTLM:“We missed a little bit on the tire pressures, so the pressure was super high at the end. When it mattered, I didn’t have a lot of grip and the car was moving around a lot. But the balance of the Corvette was good. We were just slow because the pressures were so high. That’s how it is… one of those sessions. I’m quite happy with the race car we have for tomorrow. It will be in a spot where we can do something good with it.”

Source. Corvette Racing

MAZDA, JARVIS TAKE POLE POSITION AT MID-OHIO

The name at the top of the timing screens changed several times during the 15-minute qualifying session on Saturday afternoon for Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race, but once the checkered flag fell, it was Oliver Jarvis and Mazda at the top.

Jarvis, in the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P, set a fast time of 1:10.705 on his final flying lap which  secured the pole position by a scant 0.022-second and set a new track record for the Daytona Prototype international class. Jarvis will share the car with Tristan Nunez, with the duo looking to improve from their podium finish in 2018. This is Jarvis’ second pole position of the season after taking pole position for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, taking part in his first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race for Mazda Team Joest, qualified in sixth position in the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P. Hunter-Reay will share the car with Jonathan Bomarito in tomorrow’s 2 hour and 40-minute race.

The Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network on Sunday, May 5 at 1:30 PM ET.

Quotes
John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports
“I couldn’t be more proud of the effort by Mazda Team Joest and our drivers this weekend at Mid-Ohio, and this qualifying result shows the effort that they have put in. With the changing weather and the mixed conditions that we’ve had, we weren’t quite sure where we were relative to the competition, but Olly put together a string of great laps and it’s fantastic to have a pole position today for Mazda. We don’t get here without Multimatic, AER and Michelin. We battled for the lead here last year, and I think we have two cars that can take the victory tomorrow.”

No. 77 Mazda RT24-P
Oliver Jarvis
“This is a very, very special pole position here. We didn’t have much dry running this weekend – in fact, that was the most dry laps I have had in the car – but I thought we had a shot at a top three so to be in pole is amazing. That was a very exciting qualifying session. We went back and forth with other cars for the pole position and I’m relieved that we were able to make it stick. Hats off to everyone at Mazda Team Joest and my teammate Tristan for the work they put in to make this car so good. We are really excited to get the race started tomorrow and fight for the victory.”

No. 55 Mazda RT24-P
Ryan Hunter-Reay
“It’s been a good start to the weekend here in Mid-Ohio, although I think we came up a little bit short in qualifying. I had a great time in the practice this morning when I was able to lead the session in the wet, but the lack of dry running definitely hurt a little bit in qualifying. That was the first dry session I’ve had all weekend, and I just missed some of the details you need to find some time in this Mazda RT24-P. We are in a good place starting from sixth, and we’ll do everything we can to be up there with our teammates in the No. 77 tomorrow.”

Source. Mazda

Weather Conditions Play Against Heinricher Racing Acura in Mid-Ohio Qualifying

The Acura Sports Car Challenge race weekend got off to a wet start with rains flooding practice on Friday, followed by a semi-dry practice on Saturday morning.

The No. 57 Caterpillar Acura NSX GT3 of Heinricher Racing with Meyer Shank Racing will be co-driven by Christina Nielsen and Katherine Legge in Sunday’s two hour, forty-minute race (1:30pm ET NBCSN live broadcast) and the start will see the No. 57 entry roll off the grid fifteenth in the order.

Tire strategy would be the name of the game for Saturday’s 15-minute qualifying run. With a heavy mist dampening the track, the team made the decision to go out on Michelin rain tires, anticipating that the cloud covered skies would remain throughout the session.

Weather conditions significantly changed midway through the session which created a completely dry line. Per IMSA regulation, the No. 57 Acura NSX GT3 needed to remain on the chosen tire for the entire session.

After a brief red flag period for another car sliding off track and into the muddy infield grass, Nielsen went back out on track and improved her time by three seconds. However it wasn’t enough to overcome the advantage that other teams had running on slick tires. The team finished the session in fiftieth position.

“I think this was the quickest that we’ve seen Mid-Ohio dry up,” said Nielsen. “We made the decision to go out on wets and we made that decision as a team. So I think the saying ‘you win and lose as a team’ definitely applied today. We all went into it with the best intentions, we just made the wrong call which is sad because I actually think we have really good pace in both the wet and dry conditions. I feel like we are really strong as far as getting the car set up, it was just tough with mixed conditions.”

Team Principal, Jackie Heinricher was proud of her drivers despite the unfortunate weather conditions that prevented the No. 57 Caterpillar Acura from moving up the order during qualifying.

“The weather has played a major factor today and we did a great job with what we had,” said Heinricher. “I’m looking forward to the race.”

Mike Shank, who has competed in sports car competition at his home track for over a decade was aiming to give his home crowd a better result for Sunday’s race, but is confident in the team’s overall pace in stable conditions.

“It was a 50-50 decision and unfortunately we didn’t make the right choice with tires,” said Shank. “We all spoke about it before we went out and we thought that rain tires would be the way to go but the track dried up so quickly that we were stuck with that choice for the whole session. Christina and Katherine have great pace in the wet and dry so I’m confident in what they can do for the race tomorrow.”

Source. Sunday Group

Mustang Sampling Racing Fifth on Mid-Ohio Grid

Joao Barbosa overcame challenging conditions at Mid-Ohio to qualify fifth for Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge, the fourth race in the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Barbosa ran a lap of 1:12.320-seconds at the end of Saturday’s 15-minute session in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R he co-drives with Filipe Albuquerque.

“The Cadillac is running really well and is strong on the long runs,” Barbosa said. “I think we’ve got a pretty good race car that we can push for a long time. We will just have to see where it all stacks up. I feel like we’ve got a great shot at a good result tomorrow.”

The team is looking to build on momentum coming off a victory in the most recent race at Long Beach, after taking a podium finish in the Twelve Hours of Sebring.

“I felt the car was really good in qualifying and I was pushing,” said Barbosa. “I pushed a little too hard coming out of (corner) two. There was still a lot of water there and I had a little wiggle that put me on the grass. It was just when the car was at the peak so I feel like I left a little bit on the table today. It took me two laps to get back with clean tires, but I managed put in a good lap in the end.”

With rain throughout much of the day on Friday, the Mustang Sampling team opted to run only the latter half of the afternoon session.

Albuquerque was seventh fastest in DPi with a lap of 1:30.678. Saturday morning started off with dry but chilly conditions for the final one-hour practice, with Barbosa third with a lap of 1:13.851. A brief shower in the interval before qualifying left patches of rain on the circuit.

Source. Sunday Group

Whelen Engineering Racing Fourth in Mid-Ohio Qualifying

After electing not to practice under rainy conditions on Friday at Mid-Ohio, the Whelen Engineering Racing team quickly got up to speed on Saturday to gain a second-row starting position for Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge (live broadcast NBCSN 1:30 PM ET Sunday).

Pipo Derani turned a lap of 1:11.721-seconds in the red and white No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R he co-drives with Felipe Nasr. The lap was the fourth-fastest in qualifying for Sunday’s two-hour, 40-minute race on the challenging 13-turn, 2.258-mile circuit. Derani led the charts early in the session before his time was superseded. He continued to improve both his time and his standing, closing the session with a spot on the second row.

“In general, the balance was good,” Derani said. “It is such a low grip track. Starting fourth is a positive and being the first Cadillac was also positive. We will just go from here. The car felt really good from the beginning and then we hit a limit, but the first three could improve on that by a big margin. The other cars were super quick here last year, but I think that for the race, we should have a good car.”

Derani and Nasr take plenty of momentum into the fourth race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The team placed second in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona and then won the Twelve Hours of Sebring.

The duo had a strong pace on the way to a sixth place finish at Long Beach and will look to bank as many IMSA championship points as possible on Sunday.

Source. Sunday Group

Paul Miller Racing scores best qualifying of the year thus far in Ohio

Reigning IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD champions, Paul Miller Racing, are ready for Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio with their best qualifying position of the year so far.

The No. 48 1st Phorm and Total-sponsored Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO will roll off seventh following driver Ryan Hardwick’s impressive lap in difficult and changing conditions. The slick track contributed to a more than seven second spread in laptime in the IMSA GTD class.

Hardwick set the eighth fastest time on a drying track that caught out many drivers. However, following a penalty for another car, Hardwick and teammate Bryan Sellers were promoted to seventh on the grid.

Seventh is the team’s best qualifying effort of the year so far, as well as the highest placed Huracán GT3 EVO on tomorrow’s grid.

Hardwick keeping his nose clean during the session, as well as the team’s last-minute decision to put the car on slick tires, were vital in securing seventh place.

Mid-Ohio marks the first race of the new IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup, a season-long competition for GTD teams comprising all of the IMSA season events that are 2 hours and 40 minutes or shorter.

Driver Quotes

Ryan Hardwick

“That was a crazy qualifying session, the tough thing was the changing conditions. We first went out there on rain tires, and then before we even left the pit box we decided it’s drying and we need to go to slicks.

“I knew at the start it was going to be extremely, extremely slippery on the slick tire. But, we thought, as the track dried out that would be the best thing at the end. I actually did pretty well on the slick, at one point I was in fourth place, but then they had a red flag come out because other cars spun and I got relegated back to eleventh and we got two more laps right at the end. I went as hard as I could go.

“I ended up seventh, and I’m happy with that. I thought we had a top-five start in us, but I’m really proud of the team. Our engineers made a really close call right at the end to switch to the slick tires, and it was the right choice. The team did really good today. I’m excited to get tomorrow’s race going. ”

Source. Paul Miller Racing

WeatherTech Racing Ferrari to Start from Sixth Row at Mid-Ohio

WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.) and Toni Vilander (Kankaanpää, Finland) will start the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio from the sixth row in GTD tomorrow.

MacNeil had the controls of the No. 63 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari for the 15-minute qualifying session around the 2.25-mile, 13-turn central Ohio natural terrain road course. The Scuderia Corsa team and the rest of the competitors have been dealing with changing weather conditions all week. The team has been working hard with MacNeil and Vilander on the set-up of the white and black Ferrari. MacNeil posted a time of 1:27.753 good for 12th. However, prior to the red flag, he had a lap going that was significantly faster.

“A bit of a messy session,” MacNeil said. “Changing weather conditions and a red flag during qualifying didn’t help. I had a lap going that would have been good enough to get us in the top five, but the red came out just before I came across the timing stripe. We then went green and I caught the 57 car, which cost us time. Qualifying was not indicative of the pace of the WeatherTech Ferrari. We have a good car and we will be looking to push the pace in the race tomorrow.”

Mid-Ohio signifies the beginning of the new IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup. The WeatherTech Sprint Cup is a seven-race competition for GT Daytona (GTD) class competitors within most IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship sprint events that are two hours and 40 minutes in length or shorter. The schedule includes the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Lime Rock Park, Road America, and VIRginia International Raceway. (Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix will count toward the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup for the GTD class, and not toward the overall, 10-race WeatherTech Championship season).

Source. Kyle Chura/WeatherTech Racing

Cadillac to Start on Second Row at Mid-Ohio

The Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R was the top qualifying car for the brand and will start from the second row for tomorrow’s running of the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship Acura Sports Car Challenge at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Cadillac qualifying times:
4. No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, Derani, 1:12.320
5. No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R, Barbosa, 1:12.326
7. No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadilac DPi-V.R, Van Der Zande, 1:12.525
8. No. 84 JDC/Miller Motorsport Cadillac DPi-V.R, Trummer, 1:12.595
9. No. 50 Juncos Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R, Owen, 1:13.394
10. No. 85 JDC/Miller Motorsport Cadillac DPi-V.R, Goikhberg, 1:13.570

The Cadillac teams have been dealing with changing weather conditions all weekend. Yesterday a near all day rain hampered track time with cool temperatures greeting the teams today. For race day is supposed to be 65-degrees and sunny, throwing another set-up challenge to the competitors.

In qualifying Pipo Derani had the wheel of the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R and was at the top of the time sheet early. As the rest of the field got their Michelin tires up to temperature the lap times began to fall. Derani ended the session as the top qualifying Cadillac driver with a time of 1:12.320 good for a second row, fourth place, starting position. Derani and teammate Felipe Nasr are the current IMSA DPi championship points leaders.

“In general, the balance was good,” Derani said. “It is such a low grip track. Starting fourth is a positive and being the first Cadillac was also positive. We will just go from here. The car felt really good from the beginning and we hit a limit, but the first three could improve on that by a big margin. The other cars were super quick here last year but I think that for the race, we should have a good car.”

Joao Barbosa drove the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R to a fifth place starting spot. He shares the seat with Filip Albuquerque.

“I was pushing really hard, and I felt the car was really good,” Barbosa said. “I pushed a little too hard coming out of (corner) two. There was still a lot of water there and I had a little wiggle that put me on the grass. It was just when the car was at the peak so I feel like I left a little bit on the table there. It took me two laps to get back with clean tires, but I managed put in a good lap in the end. The Cadillac is running really well and is strong on the long runs. I think we’ve got a pretty good race car that we can push for a long time and we will just have to see where it all stacks up. I feel like we’ve got a great shot at a good result tomorrow.”

In the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R Renger Van Der Zande posted a time good enough for seventh. Jordan Taylor will finish the race in the black Cadillac that won the Rolex 24 in February.

“We shouldn’t be happy with where we are in qualifying, but we didn’t have any practice to set up the car and we didn’t have it very smooth here last year at Mid-Ohio – we knew had some work to do,” Van Der Zande said. “We came here with a big list of things we wanted to try this weekend but we couldn’t do it (because of wet weather). This morning in practice, at least we had a few laps to set up the basics of the car, but there’s more to find out on this track. Even during this qualifying session, we learned a little bit, but there’s more to come. I think the qualifying lap I did, there wasn’t much more in it. In the end, there’s a long race tomorrow where a lot can happen. Hopefully it will and we’ll try our best.”

Simon Trummer put in a solid lap that will have him starting the No. 84 JDC/Miller Motorsport Cadillac DPi-V.R from eighth with teammate Stephen Simpson.

“We messed up qualifying a little bit,” Trummer said. “I couldn’t do the last two laps with a fuel pump issue. I think I had a couple of tenths left in the car. That would have been a couple spots, maybe four. Again, the team made a step forward, the Cadillac feels good. It is not the ideal track for us. I feel good in the car and we will be competitive in the race tomorrow.”

Will Owen was at the controls of the No. 50 Juncos Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R and drove to a ninth place starting spot. Kyle Kaiser will take over for the finish in the orange, green and white Cadillac.

“Overall it has been an interesting couple of days here at Mid-Ohio as the weather conditions have changed so much,” Owen said. “Yesterday it rained in the morning so we decided not to go out until the second session, which was on a damp track. Today’s morning session we had a very low grip track. It then rained before qualifying, but was able to dry back up before we were on track. Our qualifying did not go as we hoped for as I pushed a little too much too early. The track was only getting better and better, but we peaked out before I was ready to lay down that perfect lap. It was still a good qualifying session with some lessons learned, and it’s a blast driving the Cadillac here at Mid-Ohio.”

Misha Goikhberg and Tristan Vautier will start the No. 85 JDC/Miller Cadillac DPi-V.R from the fifth row for the two-hour-40-minute race that will start at 1:40 p.m. ET.

“It was a difficult session,” Goikhberg said. “The weekend has been challenging, every session is different with the weather conditions. It is the same for everyone. We had pretty good balance on the car, just not a lot of overall grip. It is tough to start tenth, but with some good strategy, some set-up changes and we will try to drive into the top five.”

Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing

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