Jonathan Bomarito takes Mazda to IMSA pole at Road America –

Posted: Sunday, August 07, 2016

Mazda scored its third WeatherTech SportsCar Championship pole of the year in dominating fashion from Jonathan Bomarito in qualifying for Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase. (3 p.m. ET on FS1)

Bomarito shattered the track qualifying record at Road America, storming to a 1:54.507 lap in the No. 55 Mazda Prototype he shares with Tristan Nunez.

It marked the first WeatherTech Championship pole for Bomarito since 2013 as the Japanese manufacturer seeks its breakthrough first overall win, after a number of failed attempts earlier this season.

The No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of Christian Fittipaldi qualified second, a full 1.152 seconds behind Bomarito, with Ricky Taylor third in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP.

Tom Long in the sister No. 70 Mazda and the No. 31 Action Express Corvette DP of Eric Curran completed the top-five overall and in class.

The Prototype qualifying session was interrupted with seven minutes remaining when John Pew beached the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda in Turn 3 and required a toe.

It set up a four-minute shootout, which saw improvements from a handful of drivers, including Bomarito’s record-setting lap.

James French scored back-to-back class poles on home soil at Road America, with the Sheboygan, Wis. native taking his Performance Tech Oreca FLM09 to the top spot in Prototype Challenge.

French reeled off a best lap of 1:59.133 following a series of late improvements in the 15-minute session from the top five in the spec prototype class.

He edged out the No. 7 Starworks Motorsport entry of Jose Gutierrez by just 0.075 seconds, with the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports car of Misha Goikhberg third with a 1:59.462 lap.

French will share the wheel of his Performance Tech entry with Kyle Marcelli tomorrow.

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s Dirk Mueller has claimed the GT Le Mans class pole, in a dominant effort for the Blue Oval in qualifying.

Mueller laid down a best lap of 2:02.451 lap time in the No. 66 Ford GT to edge out the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR of Patrick Pilet by 0.461 seconds.

It marked the German driver’s first WeatherTech SportsCar Championship class pole, and the team’s third of the season after a pair of top qualifying runs from teammate Richard Westbrook earlier this year.

Mueller, who claimed GTE-Pro class pole at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, will share driving duties with fellow Le Mans class winner Joey Hand in tomorrow’s two-hour and 40-minute race.

The No. 67 Ford of Ryan Briscoe qualified third in class, ahead of the fourth-placed No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE of Giancarlo Fisichella, who was on top of the time sheets early in the 15-minute session.

The top-six in GTLM were separated by less than one-second, but with both Corvette C7.Rs and BMW M6 GTLMs struggling and set to start from the rear of the field.

Alex Riberas scored his third class pole of the season in GT Daytona, in the No. 23 The Heart of Racing/AJR Porsche 911 GT3 R.

The Spaniard reeled off a best lap of 2:07.520 to edge out the pair of Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS cars, which qualified second and third in class.

Andrew Davis put the No. 6 Audi in second, 0.239 seconds behind Riberas, with Matt Bell third, thanks to a 2:07.785 lap in the No. 9 entry.

The No. 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R of Ben Keating will start fourth, with Christina Nielsen completing the top-five in the championship class-leading No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3.

The Continental Tire Road Race Showcase gets underway Sunday at 3 p.m. ET, live on FS1.


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