Alex Figge and Nic Jonsson will start on pole for their respective classes for the Pirelli World Challenge GT/GTS Round 11, part of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by StopTech Brakes. With their fastest laps, both Figge and Jonsson set new series qualifying track records for the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course. Of note, the top four qualifiers in GT and the top seven qualifiers in GTS posted laps quicker than the previous qualifying lap records for their respective classes.
Figge, driving the No. 9 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60 will start on pole in GT after posting a 1:21.840. The time bested the previous track record of 1:22.693 set last year by Figge's teammate Randy Pobst. It's Figge's second pole of the season, after starting the season strong in Round 1 at St. Petersburg with a pole and a win. Since St. Petersburg, Figge has had a string of bad luck and he welcomes the return to a track that he's had success at having won here in 2011.
"We've had some weird stuff go on. It's just unforeseeable stuff that never has happened," said Figge. "No amount of maintenance that can eliminate that. It hasn't been a pace issue. We've led a lot of laps. It's just the matter of getting lucky and putting it all together."
"I came here (Mid-Ohio) very motivated. No question we've had a tough season. It can go one of two ways. Either we're discouraged or motivated, and me and the No. 9 car guys are motivated. It shows in the car. We've switched engineers on the car and we're starting to click."
Pobst, in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60 will start second after posting a time of 1:22.224. Jordan Taylor, making his first start of the year in the No. 5 Cadillac Racing CTS-V.R, will start third after a fast lap of 1:22.445.
Rounding out the top 5 are James Sofronas in the No. 14 GMG/Swisher Racing/Mobil 1 Audi R8 LMS with a fast lap of 1:22.543 and GT Drivers' points leader Johnny O'Connell in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing CTS-V.R with a fast lap of 1:22.697. The top five qualifiers in GT are separated by less than a second.
In GTS, Jonsson, in the No. 36 DonorsChoose.org Kia Optima Turbo, had the fastest lap with a 1:28.191, eclipsing the previous qualifying lap record of 1:29.663. It's Jonsson's first pole of the season.
"We have had our fair share of bad luck this year," said Jonsson. "We've been pretty quick, but for whatever reason we couldn't practice or qualify. We've started from the back six of 10 races. The Kia Optimas are great and the crew has done phenomenal. Mark lines up next to me, so our mission is to help support him pushing for the GTS Drivers' championship."
Starting second is Jonsson's teammate Mark Wilkins in the No 38 B.R.A.K.E.S. Kia Optima Turbo after posting a 1:28.280. Lawson Aschenbach, in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro qualified third with a 1:28.899.
Rounding out the top 5 are Peter Cunningham in the No. 42 Acura/HPD/RealTime Racing Acura TSX who had a fast time of 1:28.973 and Andy Lee, in the No. 20 Best IT/Bondurant/Crown Seven Chevrolet Camaro with a best time of 1:29.194. Of note, GTS Drivers' points leader Jack Baldwin in the No. 73 Motul/StopTech/Foametix Porsche Cayman S will start sixth on the grid.