Jani Takes Laguna Pole For Rebellion
Johannes van Overbeek qualified third Friday in ESM’s No. 01 Tequila Patrón HPD ARX-03b-Honda at 1:18.591 (102.516 mph). He drives with Ed Brown.
It took Matteo Malucelli just three events to score his first ALMS pole position. The Italian turned a lap of 1:22.732 (97.384 mph) in Risi Competizione’s No. 62 Ferrari F458 Italia. Driving the car he shares with Olivier Beretta, Malucelli was 0.091 seconds clear of Patrick Long in CORE autosport’s No. 06 Composite Resources Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, making its ALMS debut.
“This is good for me – my first qualifying session and first pole,” Malucelli said. “We had some problems with the car Thursday but our crew fixed it. I have to say thank you to Michelin and the Risi team because they did an amazing job with the car. “I know it will be a tough race, but we’re looking forward to it.
Risi also took the GT pole in the season-opening race at Sebring, but Gianmaria Bruni handled the duties there; Beretta qualified at Long Beach. The team was the fastest qualifier at Mazda Raceway for the first time since 2010.
Porsches held second and third with Bryan Sellers qualifying the No. 17 Team Falken Tire 911 at 1:22.908 (97.178 mph). The top nine cars in class were within 0.883 seconds.
CORE autosport also found its way to the front row in Prototype Challenge presented by Continental Tire. Colin Braun took the class pole position with a lap of 1:18.382 (102.789 mph) in the No. 05 Composite Resources ORECA FLM09. A winner in Monterey last year with Jon Bennett, Braun was 0.546 seconds ahead of ALMS newcomer Renger van der Zande in DragonSpeed Mishumotors’ No. 81 dress-for-less.com ORECA.
Braun credited the No. 05’s new engineer, Travis Lowe, with nailing the qualifying setup on the car.
“We’ve been really quick in every session this weekend,” Braun said. “This is a cool weekend with Travis… a new voice on the radio. He understands what Jon and I are looking for and can help translate it to the car. He’s done a seamless job fitting in.”
Bruno Junquiera qualified third in class at 1:19.076 (101.887 mph) in RSR Racing’s No. 9 Johnson Controls ORECA.
Jeroen Bleekemolen won his second straight GT Challenge pole at third in four season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Alex Job Racing’s Porsche ace set a time of 1:27.296 in the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT3 Cup that he shares with Cooper MacNeil.
A GTC winner in 2012 and 2010 at the circuit, Bleekemolen was 0.111 seconds quicker than Nick Tandy in NGT Motorsport’s No. 30 MOMO Porsche. The AJR and NGT cars qualified in the same order at Long Beach three weeks ago. There, Bleekemolen was 0.121 seconds faster than Sean Edwards.
“We’ve been fast in all practices so the car was good already,” Bleekemolen said. “But you know racing guys like Tandy who is a factory driver for Porsche, and (Andy) Lally and (Damien Faulkner)… you know the competition is really tough so it feels even better to be on pole. The lap was clean, no mistakes, and now we’re looking forward to winning from pole because that hasn’t happened yet this year.”
Lally, the class’s pole-winner at Sebring, qualified third Friday at 1:27.495 in the No. 27 Tully’s Coffee Dempsey Del Piero Racing Porsche he shares with Patrick Dempsey.