IMSA: Van Overbeek takes Watkins Glen pole for ESM Ligier-Honda

IMSA: Van Overbeek takes Watkins Glen pole for ESM Ligier-Honda


IMSA: Van Overbeek takes Watkins Glen pole for ESM Ligier-Honda


Tequila Patron ESM’s quest for a hat-trick at IMSA’s long-haul races just became easier with Johannes van Overbeek’s stellar pole in the No. 2 Ligier JS P2-Honda. The Californian’s front-row start can only help as the Rolex 24 at Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring winners look to capture Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.

“I’m still in a little bit of awe,” said JvO. “It’s probably one of the best cars I’ve ever driven. It was magic.”

Van Overbeek’s monster lap of 1:35.207 was slightly out of reach from the No. 55 Mazda Prototype driven by Tristan Nunez (-0.167) who whittled away at the top time until the checkered flag fell. Ozz Negri did his best to match the identical ESM Ligier-Honda in his No. 60 Michael Shank Racing entry, but could only manage third (-0.385).

Outside of JvO, it’s easy to argue the star of Prototype qualifying was Ricky Taylor in No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP (-0.542) who did an amazing job of displacing the second Mazda P2 and the sister ESM Ligier-Honda on his run to fourth.

Renger van der Zande earned his first IMSA pole as he paced the PC field in his No. 8 Starworks Motorsport entry. As one of only two pros to qualify among the non-pros, the Dutchman’s 1:38.407 was decidedly faster than the second-place PR1/Mathiasen PC driven by Robert Alon (-0.804) and the Performance Tech Motorsports car piloted by James French (-0.956).

“For sure we were going for it,” van der Zande said. “The car is phenomenal. It’s nice to be on pole position; it’s nice to be qualifying again!”

GT Le Mans saw a continuation of the pace Ford demonstrated during its race-winning performance at Le Mans as Richard Westbrook set a rocking pole lap of 1:41.255 in the No. 67 GT. With his teammate Ryan Briscoe driving hurriedly to the track after the birth of his second daughter Friday night, Westy delivered a celebratory pole for his preoccupied partner.

“We’ve been working hard all weekend, the car’s been working really well and confidence is high after Le Mans,” he said. “The grip out there is unbelievable.”

Westbrook was followed by both BMW Team RLL M6s as the No. 25 (-0.349) and No. 100 (-0.604) struggled to match the pace of the sleek coupe. Turbocharged GTLM cars maintained a sizeable advantage over the non-turbo Corvettes and Porsches. Tommy Milner was the closest in his Corvette C7.R in sixth, a full 1.493 seconds from the fastest Ford.

It was four GT Daytona sessions and four fastest laps from Friday through Saturday for Stevenson Motorsports as Robin Liddell took pole with a lap of 1:45.407. The Scot’s No. 9 Audi R8 LMS GT3 (above) led Alex Job Racing’s No. 23 Porsche 911 GT3 (-0.042) and the sister No. 6 Stevenson Audi R8 LMS GT3 (-0.187) completed the top three.

“The Audi is really performing really well around here,” Liddell said. “We’ve worked really hard to make it good. I must say I feel really happy with the result. Qualifying is an opportunity for a driver to show pace, and it’s great to show against some of these young drivers.”

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MX-5 Cup | Round 2 – Daytona | Livestream