Tomy Drissi captured the Motul Pole Award for Sunday’s Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli Atlanta SpeedTour event in a shortened qualifying session at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
Drissi turned a best lap of 1m20.458s on the 12-turn, 2.54-mile circuit in the No. 8 Lucas Oil Chevrolet Camaro – his eighth career pole but his first since Mid-Ohio in 2015 – edging Boris Said in the No. 2 Weaver Racing Technique/SRI Dodge Challenger by just 0.062s.
“I was trying to wring the neck out of it and I just didn’t see that in the times,” said Drissi. “I am really proud of the Burtin Racing Lucas Slick Mist guys. This is fantastic for the No. 8 car. We got P1, and we’re going to celebrate tonight and enjoy it until tomorrow.”
Drissi pulled over to let Said by late in the session, unaware that Said was looking to remain in his draft in hopes of a faster lap.
“I thought I got out of the way of Boris when he was trying to do that last lap on me, and he’s pretty upset,” Drissi said. “I’m pretty sure I moved way off the line, but you know Boris; he’s a competitor.”
“The Technique/SRI Dodge Challenger was really fast today, and we were really close to Tomy (Drissi),” explained Said. “I cooled my tires off for one lap to go for it on the last lap. The first half of the lap I was really flying. But going into Turn 6, Tomy was going really slow on his in lap and was right in my line so it destroyed my lap.
“I was pretty mad after because I think these Weaver Racing guys really deserved the pole today, and I let them down. I should have spaced myself out a little better.”
Ernie Francis Jr. took third in the No. 98 Breathless Pro Racing Ford Mustang, followed by Justin Marks in the No. 99 Ave Motorsports Coca-Cola Corvette, Amy Ruman in the No. 23 McNichols Co./Cornertech CNC Solutions Corvette, and Simon Gregg in the No. 59 Peter Gregg Foundation Camaro.
The TA session was black-flagged early for Chris Dyson, who got stuck in gear on a downshift and spun into the gravel trap in Turn 1 before any of the drivers took a flying lap. Dyson was able to extricate his No. 20 Plaid Ford Mustang, and drive back to the pits, but did not return to the track as the team worked on the shifting problem. They expect to have it fixed for the race.
Qualifying resumed with nine minutes remaining of the scheduled 15m.
Preparing for tomorrow’s combined TA/SGT/GT feature race, Michael Phillips won the SGT-class pole for his second start in the No. 97 F.A.S.T. Auto Racing Corvette, turning a best lap of 1m27.112s.
“We’ve been fighting pace all session,” said Phillips, who spun at start/finish in the closing minutes. “We were trying to push things a little bit and I pushed it over the limits in T12 and spun; but I am thankful that the car seems alright. We may have flat-spotted a tire, but other than that, we got lucky today.”
Lou Gigliotti was second in the No. 28 G2 Motorsports Park Corvette, followed by Lee Saunders in the No. 84 Landsearch LLC Dodge Viper.
Billy Griffin, the 2020 GT champion making the move to SGT, impacted a tire wall midway through the session in the No. 14 Griffin Auto Care Ford Mustang GT4. While the damage was cosmetic, the team is working on issues with the steering rack that it hopes to correct for the race.
Jason Merck captured the GT-class pole in his Trans Am debut, with a lap of 1m35.262s in the No. 51 OG Shark BMW M3.
“I’ve been doing club racing at various levels for the last few years,” said the San Antonio driver. “I came to Trans Am because I wanted something more serious. This is my first time at Road Atlanta – it’s a awesome track.
“I’m building a new BMW M3 and hope to start racing it in SGT later this summer, and we hope to do a full year in 2022.”
To watch all of tomorrow’s race action live from Road Atlanta, download and subscribe to the Trans Am by Pirelli Racing App.