Lucas Luhr took a commanding pole position for Pickett Racing's HPD as the American Le Mans Series resumed at Lime Rock after its Le Mans 24 Hours break.
With its early season rival Rebellion opting out of the ALMS this weekend, Pickett has become a strong favourite for a second straight title. Remaining opponent Dyson Racing has yet to score this season, and Chris Dyson was 0.8 seconds off Luhr's pace in qualifying on Friday afternoon.
“We have by far the quickest car on the track,” said Luhr, after winning his 20th career ALMS pole. “We'll get two or three good quick laps at the beginning of the race if we're lucky, but then we're stuck in traffic all day long. The big job is to stay calm, don't go crazy in traffic and wait for our chances.”
In LMP2, Level 5 duo Ryan Briscoe and Marino Franchitti beat the Extreme Speed cars, while Andy Meyrick put the DeltaWing (shown leading an SRT Viper, ABOVE) 12th overall.
“It was surprising how much quicker we went in qualifying than in practice,” Briscoe said. “It was a whole second quicker – and around this place, a second is a ton.”
Briscoe will drive to Pennsylvania following Saturday's race, and will start Sunday's inaugural IZOD IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway from the back row after missing today's qualifying.
The Rahal Letterman Lanigan BMWs fended off their rivals in the typically close GT session. John Edwards beat Maxime Martin as the two BMWs went head to head for pole.
“We knew the car was going to be quick here,” Edwards said. “We've been good in practice and qualifying, so I think we can fight to stay up there for the race. If we can work through the traffic – which will be a nightmare here – we can fight for the win.”
The Corvettes start third and fifth, separated by the Risi Ferrari, with CORE leading the Porsche challenge from sixth.
CORE took LMPC pole, recovering from an off by Jon Bennett late in final practice to get the car ready for Colin Braun to put up front in class. Bruno Junqueira was his closest rival in the RSR entry.
Spencer Pumpelly gave former GT top dog Flying Lizard its first GTC pole, narrowly defeating Alex Job man Jeroen Bleekemolen.
Pos Cl Qual Driver Team/Car Time Cl gap
1. P1 Lucas Luhr Pickett HPD 44.396s
2. P1 Chris Dyson Dyson Lola-Mazda 45.243s +0.847s
3. P2 Ryan Briscoe Level 5 HPD 46.191s
4. P2 Marino Franchitti Level 5 HPD 46.428s +0.237s
5. P2 Johannes van Overbeek Extreme Speed HPD 46.729s +0.538s
6. P2 Scott Sharp Extreme Speed HPD 46.870s +0.679s
7. PC Colin Braun CORE FLM 48.078s
8. PC Bruno Junqueira RSR FLM 48.188s +0.110s
9. PC Kyle Marcelli BAR1 FLM 48.403s +0.325s
10. PC Renger van der Zande DragonSpeed FLM 48.422s +0.344s
11. PC Tristan Nunez Performance Tech FLM 48.564s +0.486s
12. P1 Andy Meyrick DeltaWing 48.931s +4.535s
13. PC Mike Guasch PR1 FLM 49.222s +1.144s
14. PC Rusty Mitchell BAR1 FLM 50.044s +1.966s
15. GT John Edwards RLL BMW 50.996s
16. GT Maxime Martin RLL BMW 51.157s +0.161s
17. GT Oliver Gavin Corvette 51.490s +0.494s
18. GT Olivier Beretta Risi Ferrari 51.499s +0.503s
19. GT Antonio Garcia Corvette 51.537s +0.541s
20. GT Patrick Long CORE Porsche 51.732s +0.736s
21. GT Townsend Bell West/AJR Ferrari 51.812s +0.816s
22. GT Dominik Farnbacher SRT Viper 51.916s +0.920s
23. GT Kuno Wittmer SRT Viper 52.185s +1.189s
24. GT Bryan Sellers Falken Porsche 52.199s +1.203s
25. GT Bryce Miller Miller Porsche 52.254s +1.258s
26. GTC Spencer Pumpelly Flying Lizard Porsche 55.155s
27. GTC Jeroen Bleekemolen Alex Job Porsche 55.317s +0.162s
28. GTC Damien Faulkner TRG Porsche 55.414s +0.259s
29. GTC Andy Lally Dempsey Porsche 55.500s +0.345s
30. GTC Jan Heylen JDX Porsche 55.604s +0.449s
31. GTC Nicolas Armindo NGT Porsche 55.677s +0.522s
32. GTC Dion von Moltke Flying Lizard Porsche 55.744s +0.589s
33. GTC Craig Stanton TRG Porsche 55.992s +0.837s