Harry Tincknell in the No. 55 Mazda RT-24P set a stunning time of 1m10.027s to secure pole position for the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship race at Mid-Ohio. This is his first IMSA pole position and comes after a slugfest of a qualifying session that saw multiple drivers hold the time spot.
“I really didn’t expect that going into qualifying. We’ve kind of been near the bottom of the timing sheets for our liking and in the first two practice sessions really struggling a lot with front grip issues, just sliding around a little bit,” Tincknell explained.
The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05c of Filipe Albuquerque was second with a time of 1m10.122s, just +0.095s behind Tincknell. Rounding out the top three was Dane Cameron in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-05c.
After the first two practice sessions, few would have predicted a Mazda would score pole position. Given Acura’s success at this track the last three seasons and the strength of the Cadillac entries, Mazda seemed to be the odd man out heading into this session. Tincknell put all doubt aside, however, with a lap that was comparable to the days of the Audi R10s.
In GTD, Aaron Telitz in the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC-F GT3 took the pole position with a time of 1m20.529s. Telitz bested Bill Auberlen on the final lap of the session by just +0.006s.
“Mid-Ohio has got a lot of high speed and medium-speed corners and that’s kind of what the Lexus likes most,” Telitz said. “Just the fact that there are only two really slow corners here at this track really helps us and it flows a lot — the sections flow together.”
This was the third-straight session of the weekend that was led by a Lexus and leaves the AIM Vasser Sullivan crew as the favorites heading into tomorrow’s race.
Auberlen’s 1m20.535s in the No. 96 Turner Motorsports BMW M6 GT3 left him second. Daniel Morad put the No. 28 Alegra Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 third on the grid. That lap from Morad was perhaps the biggest surprise of the session as the Mercedes had struggled to make much of an impact at the fore of the GTD field this weekend.
Entering this session, they had ended both practice sessions in eighth. Regardless, Morad’s time of 1m20.687s was good enough for third.
In the GTD points shootout, Patrick Long in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R secured an extra 35 points for Wright Motorsports in the championship battle with a time of 1m20.083s.
Gar Robinson in the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320 qualified on pole in LMP3 with a time of 1m17.246s. That time bested Jon Bennett in the No. 54 CORE autosport Ligier JS P320 by +0.386s. The LMP3 session was a battle between Robinson and Bennett as the two traded the quickest lap for most of the fifteen-minute session. This was the first pole position in IMSA for Robinson.
Jarrett Andretti in the No. 36 Andretti Autosport Ligier JS P320 was third with a time of 1m17.173s.
There were no incidents in any of the sessions.
UP NEXT: Acura Sports Car Challenge, Sunday, 2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN