Guy Smith captured Dyson Racing's fifth pole of 2011 and repeated his pole of a year ago at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The only difference for the Englishman this time around was a time of 1:13.927 compared to 1:12.338 a year ago.
"Qualifying time was so limited and I was aware that seconds lost could be costly," Smith said. "But the tires came in much quicker than I thought. We suspected that might be the case and it turned out to be in qualifying. It's certainly a good direction for the race."
Fresh off winning in Baltimore, Steven Kane put Dyson's second Lola Mazda coupe on the outside of the front row.
The pair of Aston Martin Lola coupes line up third and fourth, nine tenths and 1.637sec, respectively, off Smith's pace. AMR's factory effort driven by Adrian Fernandez beat out the Muscle Milk car wheeled by Klaus Graf. Christophe Bouchut put Level 5's new P2-spec HPD ARX-01g ahead of Autocon's open-top Lola on debut.
Kyle Marcelli delivered a stellar performance in LMPC to trump CORE autosport's pair of aces in that class's qualifying. The young Canadian led Gunnar Jeannette by 0.394 and Andy Wallace by 1.184sec to secure his second pole position of the season for Intersport.
CORE's championship rival, Eric Lux, split the two CORE entries in his own Genoa Racing No. 63. Two of the seven LMPC cars failed to set a representative time.
BMW secured its seventh pole in eight races in 2011, the pair of Rahal Letterman Lanigan M3s 1-3 on the GT grid for the six-hour race.
The top four in GT were separated by only two tenths before Joey Hand blitzed them all in the No. 56 entry, setting a 1:22.836. While that lap was near seven tenths clear of the rest, another lap of 1:22.226 was an authoritative slap in the face to the rest of the competition. Hand's pole is his fourth in that stretch of seven straight top qualifying efforts.
"I have a way to get the car and the tires to that point. But it really comes back to the boys in the pits," Hand said. "When I say something about the car – even in the ‘Joey' language – they know what I mean. They freed the car up from the practice to qualifying and I knew it could be big money around here. We knew the car could be fast. I was full-on through nine corners and took it easy in 10 and 11."
Bill Auberlen ran second behind his teammate toward the end of the session before Oliver Gavin in one of the Corvette C6.Rs split the BMWs at 1:23.124. Auberlen starts third.
Guy Cosmo secured his and Extreme Speed Ferrari's best start of 2011 in fourth ahead of Patrick Long in the first of the Flying Lizard Porsches.
Toni Vilander stopped on track before the end of the session ending a fraught Friday for Risi Ferrari; the team had a spin in the morning practice which required a rear bodywork change. Vilander starts seventh.
Like its only other ALMS start, the 2010 Petit Le Mans, Porsche's 911 GT3 R Hybrid did not set a qualifying time and will start from the rear of the 36-car field.
Jeroen Bleekemolen scored his third pole of the season in GTC for Black Swan Racing, ahead of BSR/Green Hornet teammate Damien Faulkner. Spencer Pumpelly took the lead TRG Porsche to third.
Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time
1. P1 Dyson/Smith/Cochran Dyson Lola-Mazda 1m13.927s
2. P1 Al Masaood/Kane/Leitzinger Dyson Lola-Mazda 1m14.621s
3. P1 Fernandez/Primat/Mucke AMR Lola-Aston 1m14.827s
4. P1 Luhr/Graf Muscle Milk Lola-Aston 1m15.564s
5. P2 Tucker/Bouchut/Diaz Level 5 Lola-Honda 1m16.688s
6. P1 Burgess/McMurry/Willman Autocon Lola-AER 1m18.379s
7. PC Ducote/Ducote/Marcelli Intersport FLM 1m18.844s
8. PC Jeannette/Gonzalez/Junco CORE Autosport FLM 1m19.238s
9. PC Lux/Julian/Guasch Genoa FLM 1m19.423s
10. PC Bennett/Montecalvo/Wallace CORE Autosport FLM 1m20.028s
11. PC Dobson/Richard/Villeneuve PR1 Mathiasen FLM 1m20.779s
12. GT Muller/Hand RLL BMW 1m22.226s
13. GT Gavin/Magnussen Corvette 1m23.124s
14. GT Auberlen/Werner RLL BMW 1m23.132s
15. GT Brown/Cosmo Extreme Speed Ferrari 1m23.367s
16. GT Bergmeister/Long Flying Lizard Porsche 1m23.368s
17. GT Sharp/van Overbeek Extreme Speed Ferrari 1m23.386s
18. GT Melo/Vilander Risi Ferrari 1m23.518s
19. GT Beretta/Milner Corvette 1m23.566s
20. GT Henzler/Sellers Falken Porsche 1m23.758s
21. GT Miller/Maassen Miller Porsche 1m24.133s
22. GT Junqueira/Wilden RSR Jaguar 1m24.383s
23. GT Neiman/Holzer Flying Lizard Porsche 1m27.829s
24. GTC Pappas/Bleekemolen/Bleekemolen Black Swan Porsche 1m27.850s
25. GTC LeSaffre/Faulkner Green Hornet Porsche 1m28.152s
26. GTC Ende/Pumpelly/Ludwig TRG Porsche 1m28.386s
27. GTC Ragginger/Kauffmann/Cisneros NGT Porsche 1m28.617s
28. GTC von Moltke/Buckler/di Guida TRG Porsche 1m28.796s
29. GTC Ham/Thompson/Blackett JDX Porsche 1m28.870s
30. GTC Sweedler/Wong/Lewis Alex Job Porsche 1m29.194s
31. GTC Sofronas/Welch GMG Porsche 1m29.334s
32. GTC Avenatti/Faieta/Wagner Competition Porsche 1m29.532s
33. PC Nicolosi/Boon/Lueders Performance Tech FLM
34. PC Moro/Drissi/Vera Intersport FLM
35. GT Jones/Moran RSR Jaguar
36. UNC Dumas/Lietz Porsche Hybrid