Detroit United SportsCar: Richard Westbrook grabs last-gasp pole
|By Mark Glendenning||Friday, May 30th 2014, 22:33 GMT|
Richard Westbrook used his final flying lap to give Corvette a hometown pole position for Saturday's United SportsCar race on the Belle Isle street circuit in Detroit.
The Spirit of Daytona driver provisionally held the top spot when the chequered flag waved, only to be bumped when fellow Brit Ryan Dalziel managed to better his time in his Extreme Speed HPD.
But Westbrook had crossed the line with just enough time for one more lap, and made the most of it with a 1m25.011s that put him back into first by just 0.01 seconds.
"On the radio there was so much chatter - 'you're P1, you're P2, you're P1, you're P2," Westbrook said.
"I did a 1m25.1s with three laps to go and was on a cool-down lap when I heard that Ryan had done a 1m25.0s. I just threw all caution to the wind, and sometimes you get rewarded for that on a street circuit and sometimes it bites you."
The late scramble quashed what potentially looked like a Corvette 1-2-3 on the grid: Christian Fittipaldi fell to third behind Dalziel in an Action Express car that looked like it had survived minor contact, while Jordan Taylor's Wayne Taylor Racing entry was knocked back to fifth by Olivier Pla in his OAK Morgan.
A mostly uneventful session was punctuated by just one incident of note when Memo Rojas slid into the escape road. He was able to continue, and will start his Ganassi Riley from eighth.
The battle for GTD honours was won by Spencer Pumpelly in the Flying Lizard Audi R8. Riley SRT Viper driver Jeroen Bleekemolen came closest to unseating the American, finishing 0.2s down on the class pole time. The Prototype and GTD divisions are the only ones present for the Detroit event.
Follow the Detroit United SportsCar race as it happens with AUTOSPORT Race Centre Live from approximately 5pm UK time on Saturday
Leading qualifying times:
Pos Cl Qual driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. P Richard Westbrook SDR Corvette DP 1m25.011s 2. P Ryan Dalziel Extreme Speed HPD 1m25.029s +0.018s 3. P Christian Fittipaldi Action Express Corvette DP 1m25.139s +0.128s 4. P Olivier Pla OAK Morgan-Nissan 1m25.555s +0.544s 5. P Jordan Taylor Taylor Corvette DP 1m25.586s +0.575s 6. P Oswaldo Negri Jr Shank Riley-Ford 1m25.776s +0.765s 7. P Johannes van Overbeek Extreme Speed HPD 1m26.192s +1.181s 8. P Memo Rojas Ganassi Riley-Ford 1m26.199s +1.188s 9. P Boris Said Marsh Corvette DP 1m26.952s +1.941s 10. P Joel Miller SpeedSource Mazda 1m31.344s +6.333s Class poles: 12. GTD Spencer Pumpelly Flying Lizard Audi 1m32.914s