Smith Nabs ALMS Lime Rock Pole
LIME ROCK, Conn. – Guy Smith put Dyson Racing on the pole position Friday for the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park in an epic 15-minute session.
Smith set a lap of 44.017 (120.553 mph) in Dyson Racing’s Mazda-powered Lola coupe that he drives with Chris Dyson.
All five classes set qualifying records on the 1.5-mile, eight-turn layout. The unquestioned highlight was the fast and furious fight between Smith and Lucas Luhr from Muscle Milk Pickett Racing. Luhr set a lap of 44.119 (120.275 mph) to end up just .102 second behind his chief rival.
Dyson and Dyson Racing – based in nearby Poughkeepsie, N.Y. – started from pole last year and went on to win the race as well as the P1 championship in the American Le Mans Series.
Dyson entries will start first and third in P1. Eric Lux set a lap of 46.552 (113.989 mph) in Dyson Racing’s other Lola-Mazda that he drives with Michael Marsal.
Bill Auberlen will make his 100th ALMS start with his first Lime Rock pole position in the Series for the GT class. Auberlen set a lap of 50.290 in the BMW Team RLL BMW M3 GT that he drives with Jörg Müller. The time broke BMW RLL teammate Joey Hand’s record from last year by 0.005 seconds.
Auberlen was .379 second quicker than both Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Marco Holzer and Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin. Holzer set the time earlier in the session than Gavin, so the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR will start second in the class.
Auberlen has more than 10 career professional victories at Lime Rock Park but none in ALMS. He was a runner-up in 2010, and third in 2009 and 2006. Each of those results came in a BMW.
Level 5 Motorsports’ Christophe Bouchut scored his third P2 pole position in four races with a lap of 46.539. It’s the first time at the circuit for the Level 5 team but it didn’t necessarily show on the timing screen. The squad’s two HPD ARX-03bs were first and second.
Team owner Scott Tucker qualified second in class at 47.007 in the team’s other entry that he drives with Luis Diaz. Tucker is pulling double-duty and is driving with Bouchut as well.
Martin Plowman qualified Conquest Endurance’s Morgan-Nissan prototype third in P2 with a lap of 47.072 (112.729 mph). He drives with David Heinmeier- Hansson.
Kyle Marcelli tallied his first Prototype Challenge pole of the season with a lap of 47.249 in Merchant Services Racing’s ORECA FLM09. The young Canadian – driving with Antonio Downs – barely missed out on pole position in the previous round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca against RSR Racing’s Bruno Junquiera. Marcelli turned the table Friday and outpaced the Brazilian star by 0.233 seconds.
Junqueira and teammate Tomy Drissi will start just ahead of PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ Butch Leitzinger and Ken Dobson. Leitzinger, another of four ALMS drivers making their 100tth Series starts Saturday, qualified with a lap of 48.033.
In GT Challenge, Alex Job Racing’s Leh Keen won his second career ALMS pole position and first at Lime Rock. He set a lap of 55.195 in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup that he shares with GT Challenge championship leader Cooper MacNeil.
Keen, who last raced at Lime Rock in the ALMS during the 2008 season, led an intense three-way battle in the class. He was just 0.201 seconds ahead of TRG’s Spencer Pumpelly and another 0.022 seconds clear of Green Hornet Racing’s Damien Faulkner.
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