Ford GT wins desperately tight pole battle

Four cars were covered by less than 0.2sec in the IMSA GT Le Mans qualifying battle at Lime Rock, as Spencer Pumpelly (GT Daytona) and Colin Braun (Prototype Challenge) earned the other class poles.

Ford GT wins desperately tight pole battle
Dirk Werner, BMW Team RLL BMW
Lime Rock atmosphere
#25 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM: Bill Auberlen, Dirk Werner
#62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE: Giancarlo Fisichella, Toni Vilander
#16 Change Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3: Spencer Pumpelly, Corey Lewis
#54 CORE autosport Oreca FLM09: Jon Bennett, Colin Braun
Colin Braun, CORE autosport

Richard Westbrook grabbed pole position for the IMSA WeatherTech Championship's North East Grand Prix by lapping the 1.5-mile Lime Rock Park road course in Connecticut in 50.748sec, on his 13th of 14 laps.

That was enough to keep the #67 Ford GT just 0.086sec clear of a late surge by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dirk Werner, who wheeled his BMW M6 around just fast enough to edge Tommy Milner’s #4 Corvette C7.R by 0.024sec. And Toni Vilander’s Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE was just a further 0.044sec adrift.

Ford was robbed of the chance of a possible front-row lockout, when Joey Hand’s #66 Ford ground to a halt at Turn 5, forcing thesession to be red-flagged, but he had still done enough to qualify ahead of the second Corvette of Jan Magnussen, the second BMW of John Edwards, and the Porsche 911 pair.

There were similarly tight gaps at the top of the GT Daytona class, but it was Change Racing’s Spencer Pumpelly who grabbed top spot in his Lamborghini Huracan, with a 53.148sec lap, 1.6sec off the slowest GTLM car.

Second and third fastest were the Stevenson Motorsport Audi R8s of Andrew Davis and Matt Bell, 0.03 and 0.047sec off pole respectively, with Christina Nielsen fourth in Scuderia Corsa’s GT3 Ferrari 488.

Madison Snow’s Paul Miller Racing entry made it two Lamborghinis in the top five with Mario Farnbacher doing a predictably good job to make #23 Alex Job Racing entry the top Porsche 911.

In the fastest class in action at Lime Rock this weekend, Colin Braun put CORE autosport top of the Prototype Challenge field with a 48.990sec lap, a mere 0.016sec clear of Robert Alon in the PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports entry, James French in the Performance Tech Motorsports machine, and the Starworks pairing of Jose Gutierrez and Alex Popow.

The race begins tomorrow at 3pm ET.

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