Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) with Curb-Agajanian will start from the second row after setting the third-quickest lap in qualifying for Sunday’s Motul Course de Monterey, the fourth round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Colin Braun took on qualifying duties for the first time of the season, driving the No. 60 MSR Acura ARX-06 co-driven by Tom Blomqvist, and went to the top of the chart with his first fast lap.
The MSR driver improved to second on his next lap, running a quick time of 1:15.767-seconds, but dropped to second as the times began to tumble. The team then elected to pit, and changed tires for another run at the pole to make the most of the new-for-2023 qualifying regulations for GTP runners.
When Braun returned to the track with 6:22 remaining, he was down in seventh position. Braun then improved to third with a lap of 1:14.979-seconds. He had enough time in the 20-minute session for another attempt at the pole, but backed off after running wide in the Corkscrew.
“Really good job by everyone at Meyer Shank, Acura, and HPD,” said Braun. “We rolled off the truck well, top two or three in every session, but it seems as though the Porsches had good, peak pace. We missed by just a little bit, which was honestly closer than I thought it would be. I’m pretty happy about it. It’s a long race and there will be a lot to play out. We’ve been focused more on our long run pace and managing tire degradation, so I’m happy with that result. The team did a good job, we’re learning more and more every time we go out.”
MSR has a strong heritage at the scenic West Coast venue, winning overall in 2016 as well as taking GTD wins in 2018 and 2020.
Last year, Blomqvist finished second in the final season for the Acura ARX-05 DPi, beginning a run of five-consecutive runner-up finishes for MSR that carried the team to the 2022 IMSA title on the wave of the huge season-ending victory at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. Blomqvist and Braun will look to make the most of a strong qualifying position on Sunday.
“It is important here, the closer you are to the front the more you can dictate your pace,” said Braun. “You have to start well which gives you more options. This team is one of the best in the business at strategy, so we’ll be in a good spot. We know the front row guys will be smart – but we also know everyone wants to lead. I’ll have a front row seat.”
Source. Sunday Group
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