The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05c will start the Sahlen’s Six Hours of Watkins Glen from pole position after Ricky Taylor laid down a time of 1m30.022s that spearheaded another Acura 1-2.
“Even though it’s six hours, it feels long but the way this track flows, track position — we say it every time and it sounds silly but it’s important here. It just helps you control the race,” Taylor said. “As far as strategy goes it makes it a little difficult because you don’t want to be the first one to make decisions, but I mean we wouldn’t trade pole position for anything!”
Dane Cameron, who completed a session-high nine laps, was unable to best Taylor’s time. It was the first session of the weekend that was not led by the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-05c. Despite that, the Japanese make still look strong as they were +0.496s clear of the next-best car in the session.
That was the No. 01 Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing DPi-V.R. of Renger van der Zande who set a time of 1m30.637s. Kamui Kobayashi in the No. 48 Ally Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R. was fourth.
On his final lap of the session, Steven Thomas put the No. 11 WIN Autosport ORECA 07 on pole by just 0.018s. It was a remarkable rebound for Thomas who went from crashing in the morning’s Free Practice session to the top of the charts in qualifying with a time of 1m35.304s.
“I came across the start-finish line and they told me, ‘You need four-tenths to be on pole,’ so I knew I had to get after it that lap and I guess we barely made it in,” Thomas said.
Second in LMP2 was the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA 07 of Ben Keating. Keating spun late in the session and a lap later Thomas stole the pole, so that spin could have been costly. Dwight Merriman in the No. 18 Era Motorsport ORECA 07 was third with a time of 1m38.455s.
In GT Le Mans, Corvette secured a front-row lockout with Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette C8.R leading Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Corvette C8.R. Garcia’s best time was a 1m40.944s and was +0.374s quicker than Milner.
“That felt really good…It’s always fun to qualify here. That’s when you really get to experience Watkins Glen,” Garcia said.
“You can really go for it and be really close to the walls. It was fun. Unfortunately, I had one lap deleted (for track limits infraction), which didn’t help but I was able to almost do it again. The C8.R was great again. It’s always good to get on pole and to get one for Corvette Racing.”
After the two Corvettes came the two BMW M8 GTEs with the No. 25 BMW of Connor De Phillippi getting the better of John Edwards in the No. 24 BMW. De Phillippi’s best time was a 1m41.357s. Cooper MacNeil had qualifying duties in the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR and ended the session last in class.
They led Free Practice 1 and they led Free Practice 2, so it was far from surprising when the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC-F GT3 qualified on pole in GT Daytona. Kyle Kirkwood set a time of 1m45.539s and was +0.310s clear of the next-best time in the session.
That time came from Trent Hindman in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. It has been a battle between the No. 14 Lexus and the No. 16 Porsche so far this weekend with the two cars finishing the practice sessions in close order.
Jaden Conwright, the 22-year-old from California, has been impressive this weekend and continued to impress in qualifying with a 1m45.853s that put the No. 42 NTE Sport Audi R8 LMS GT3 third on the grid.
The No. 14 Lexus also secured the maximum number of points in the second half of GTD qualifying. Their teammates in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC-F GT3 was second in the for-points-only portion of the session.05_Results by Class_Qualifying – GTD Points – GTLM – Position – Points
United Autosports finally found the speed the world knew they had as Austin McCusker put the No. 2 Ligier JS P320 on pole position in LMP3. It had been a slow start to the weekend as the team got acclimated to the series. McCusker cracked the top three in Free Practice 2 and was given qualifying duties which he took full advantage by laying down a time of 1m40.404s that was 0.570s clear of the rest of the LMP3 field.
“The car rolled off the truck really good. We made some minor tweaks — just trying to learn the track, we haven’t been here in a while. It’s a tough field in LMP3 but we’re happy to start from the front,” McCusker said.
Jarret Andretti in the No. 36 Andretti Autosport Ligier JS P320 was second with a time of 1m40.974s. The No. 54 CORE autosport Ligier JS P320 with George Kurtz rounded out the top three.
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