Smith Puts Dyson On VIR Pole
Cameron is looking to help Mike Guasch, co-driver of the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports Molecule ORECA FLM09, capture the PC title on Saturday. Kimber-Smith ran a lap of 1:42.105 (115.293 mph) to briefly lead the session, but wound up second in the No. 05 CORE autosport Composite Resources ORECA FLM09 co-driven by Jonathan Bennett. To remain in title contention, Bennett cannot lose more than one position to Guasch in Saturday’s race.
Maxime Martin became the third different BMW Team RLL driver in three races to score an American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón GT class pole position, which he did on Friday afternoon.
Martin lapped the 3.27-mile, 17-turn VIR road circuit at 1 minute, 45.978 seconds (111.080 mph) in the No. 55 BMW North America, LLC/Crowne Plaza BMW Z4 GTE to take the pole and establish a new GT-class track record. Martin’s pole on Friday comes on the heels of teammate Joey Hand taking the top starting position in the most recent ALMS race at Circuit of The Americas last month.
Martin’s co-driver, Bill Auberlen, took the GT pole two races ago at the Grand Prix of Baltimore. A total of four different drivers have earned poles for BMW Team RLL this season, as John Edwards earned the team’s first class pole in July at Lime Rock Park.
“It’s for sure a great pole position for me,” Martin said. “This is the first time for me at the track; my first time every track in the US. It’s not always easy. I’m really happy for the team and working with my teammate, Bill Auberlen. He’s teaching me a lot, and getting me up to speed very quickly. Third pole of the team, third pole for the 55, third different driver. We know tomorrow it will be difficult, we are slower in a straight line with our engine power, but the team is working out a good strategy so I hope to bring it home.”
Matteo Malucelli qualified second in GT with a lap of 1:46.113 (110.938 mph) in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia. Malucelli lost his fastest time in the session, when fluids from the No. 62 machine brought out a red flag and ended the session prematurely. However, Malucelli’s second-fastest lap kept him second on the GT grid.
Qualifying for the GT Challenge class saw a familiar name atop the charts, as Damien Faulkner took his second consecutive class pole with a best lap of 1:52.213 (104.908 mph) in the No. 66 Port Lavaca Group/Viper Exchange/Adobe Road Winery Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
Faulkner also qualified on pole at Circuit of The Americas last month, which he went on to win alongside co-driver Ben Keating. It is also the Irishman’s second straight VIR pole, as he started from the No. 1 position in the GT class last year.
“It wasn’t an easy day to be honest,” said Faulkner, who set a GTC-class track record with his best lap on Friday. “We had two one-hour practice sessions that didn’t go to plan. We changed the car between sessions. You always want the best car to be the second one, and we went the wrong way coming out in the second session. We ended up going back to the garages before the session ended. We had gone the wrong way, so we got it back to how we were set up this morning. Then, we worked super hard to get it back to the front. Hats off to the TRG team for working so hard and quick to get the car back to speed.”