Guy Smith on LMP1 pole at Mid-Ohio as BMWs lead the GT field
|By Simon Strang||Friday, August 5th 2011, 19:36 GMT|
Guy Smith took his third pole position of the season for Saturday's American Le Mans Series race at Mid-Ohio, having delivered on his promise from first practice.
For five laps or so Klaus Graf - fastest in second practice - was the only man on track with the Muscle Milk Lola Aston Martin. The German set a best time of 1m12.892s, but once the Dyson Mazda Lolas went on track, that all changed.
Smith's first effort 1m12.9s wasn't quite enough, but his tyres were good enough for a second lap and that proved to be a 1m12.727s - which definitely was good enough.
Graf, having given it his best shot as far as he was concerned and shot his tyres, accepted his fate and climbed from his car with a front row start in the bag.
"In clean air we know the car is fast and we proved that today," said Smith. "I think we have all been suffering from a lack of grip, it's been a little like rally driving. It's going to be a tough race and the track is very dusty, so it was a good effort."
Smith's team-mate Steven Kane, on his first visit to the famous track, was third fastest, 0.880s away from pole.
Joey Hand took pole position for the GT class with a lap of 1m20.539s, the 32-year-old American setting the pace ahead of his BMW team-mate Dirk Werner by just 0.116s.
Both M3 GTs waited until near the end of the GT session to move ahead of the Risi Ferrari of Jaime Melo and Jorg Bergmester's Flying Lizard Porsche.
Oliver Gavin was the fastest Corvette driver in fifth - the top five covered by less than half a second. Guy Cosmo was an impressive sixth in the Extreme Speed Ferrari.
The two Jaguar XKRs were not bottom of the pack either, former Champ Car stars Bruno Junqueira and PJ Jones placing 11th and 12th in class, some two and bit seconds away from the pace of the BMWs.
Gunner Jeannette initially dominated the LMP Challenge class but came under pressure late on from Kyle Marcelli's Intersport car.
The Core Autosport driver held on to take pole in the category with a 1m17.281s, but Marcelli's final attempt appeared to look likely to challenge until he came up behind Javier Echeverria's car and lost momentum. The Mexican ironically improved his own lap to go fifth.
Jon Field was third in the second Intersport car ahead of Eric Lux in the Genoa Racing machine.
"I'm thrilled because we still have a couple of issues with the car," said Jeannette of his lap time, having pitted before the end of the session. "I was going to stay out but then I had a big moment and I decided to save the car from the race."
Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time Gap 1. P1 Dyson/Smith Dyson Lola-Mazda 1m12.727s 2. P1 Luhr/Graf Muscle Milk Lola-Aston 1m12.892s + 0.165s 3. P1 Al Masaood/Kane Dyson Lola-Mazda 1m13.607s + 0.880s 4. P1 Burgess/McMurry Autocon Lola-AER 1m17.035s + 4.308s 5. PC Jeannette/Gonzalez CORE FLM 1m17.281s + 4.554s 6. PC Marcelli/Drissi Intersport FLM 1m17.332s + 4.605s 7. PC Field/Field Intersport FLM 1m17.670s + 4.943s 8. PC Lux/Zugel Genoa FLM 1m17.972s + 5.245s 9. PC Cheng/Echeverria M/Sports 1m18.540s + 5.813s 10. PC Bennett/Montecalvo CORE FLM 1m18.684s + 5.957s 11. PC Nicolosi/Boon Performance Tech FLM 1m19.032s + 6.305s 12. GT Muller/Hand BMW 1m20.539s + 7.812s 13. GT Auberlen/Werner BMW 1m20.655s + 7.928s 14. GT Melo/Vilander Risi Ferrari 1m20.745s + 8.018s 15. GT Bergmeister/Long Flying Lizard Porsche 1m20.917s + 8.190s 16. GT Gavin/Magnussen Corvette 1m20.944s + 8.217s 17. GT Brown/Cosmo Extreme Speed Ferrari 1m21.068s + 8.341s 18. GT Sharp/van Overbeek Extreme Speed Ferrari 1m21.256s + 8.529s 19. GT Beretta/Milner Corvette 1m21.280s + 8.553s 20. GT Henzler/Sellers Falken Porsche 1m21.921s + 9.194s 21. GT Murry/Lazzaro Robertson Doran Ford 1m22.128s + 9.401s 22. GT Junqueira/Wilden RSR Jaguar 1m22.569s + 9.842s 23. GT Jones/Moran RSR Jaguar 1m22.971s + 10.244s 24. GT Miller/Maassen Miller Porsche 1m23.084s + 10.357s 25. GT Robertson/Snow Robertson Doran Ford 1m23.854s + 11.127s 26. GT Neiman/Law Flying Lizad Porsche 1m24.712s + 11.985s 27. GTC Ende/Pumpelly TRG Porsche 1m26.602s + 13.875s 28. GTC Sweedler/Keen Alex Job Porsche 1m26.614s + 13.887s 29. GTC Pappas/Bleekemolen Black Swan Porsche 1m26.741s + 14.014s 30. GTC Potter/Stanton Magnus Porsche 1m27.336s + 14.609s 31. GTC von Moltke/Bunting TRG Porsche 1m27.429s + 14.702s 32. GTC Ham/Cumming JDX Porsche 1m27.784s + 15.057s 33. GTC LeSaffre/Davis Black Swan Porsche 1m27.791s + 15.064s