Saturday’s Blancpain GT World Challenge America 30-minute qualifying session at Sonoma Raceway’s picturesque 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course saw Spain’s Miguel Molina clinch the pole for Round 7 and Australian Matt Campbell for Round 8. The 30-minute qualifying session was split into two 15-minute segments to determine grids for each race.
In the first 15-minute segment for Round 7 qualification, Pro category driver Spaniard Andy Soucek, in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT, set the early top time of 1:38.526 as tires came up to temperature. Molina, driving the R. Ferri Motorsport No. 61 Ferrari 488 GT3 then eclipsed the top time with a 1:37.667. He then improved his time to a 1:37.310 that would hold for the pole – he will co-pilot with Finland’s Toni Vilander. Canadian Scott Hargrove, piloting the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R will start second after posting a 1:37.861 – he will co-pilot with California’s Patrick Long. K-PAX’s No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 piloted by Rodrigo Baptista from Brazil will start third on the grid (1:37.936) (co-piloting Maxime Soulet from Belgium). Soucek, co-piloting with Alvaro Parente of Portugal, will start 4th on the grid (1:38.190).
In the Pro/Am category, championship points co-leader Martin Barkey, in the No. 80 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX topped the charts early with a 1:40.739 only to have Mike Hedlund of Redwood, Calif. racing at his home track top the charts with a 1:38.876 – Hedlund is co-piloting the No. 43 RealTime Racing Acura NSX with Dane Cameron. The time was good for 6th overall on the grid. American Anthony Imperato piloting the No. 91 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R will start second in class, 8th overall after posting a 1:38.952 – Imperato is co-piloting with Campbell.
Am competitor American Casear Bacarella (co-piloting with Martin Fuentes from Mexico) in the No. 7 Squadra Corse Ferrari 488 posted a time of 1:41.008, 15th on the grid.
The second 15-minute segment for Round 8 qualification saw first session drivers hand over the reins to their co-drivers. The session was action-packed with a flurry of drivers setting times topping the charts. Nearing the end of the session Vilander’s 1:37.013 seemed to be the time that would score the pole, but Pro/Am competitor Campbell rocketed to the top with a 1:36.672. Vilander’s time held for second on the grid. Long’s time of 1:37.299 was good for third starting position.
Southern California based GMG Racing will have their No. 14 Porsche 911 GT3 R starting 4th on the grid and second in the Pro/Am category after Dirk Werner posted a 1:37.483. Team Principle/driver James Sofronas will co-pilot with Werner.
Round 7’s 90-minute contest is scheduled to go green at 2:45 pm PDT on Saturday, while Round 8 is scheduled to start at 11:15 am PDT Sunday, June 9th.
Races will be streamed live on gt-world-challenge-america.com, with Sunday’s contest live on CBS Sports Network.