With short laps and the fewest corners of any track the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship visits, passing opportunities at Lime Rock Park are precious and qualifying position means everything, even for a 2h40m race like tomorrow’s FCP Euro Northeast Grand Prix.
Matt Campbell, who had predicted prior to the first practice that Lime Rock would be a good circuit for the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche, made good on that hypothesis by claiming the pole for tomorrow’s race, topping GTD PRO and overall with a new record. In GTD, Frankie Montecalvo claimed his second pole in a row in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F.
Jordan Taylor was the first driver to dip under the existing GTD track record in the No. 3 Corvette, but at the time he was the only GTD PRO entry on the track. Ross Gunn then vaulted to the top in the No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage, a huge jump of more than half a second from the car that had been toward the bottom of the time sheets in the practice sessions.
Campbell, in his first real flyer, did a 51.079s lap (103.88mph) to move to the top, a time that wouldn’t be bested in the 15-minute session. For the first time all day, the GTD PRO cars claimed the first five spots. Jack Hawksworth was second in the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F 0.018s shy of Campbell’s time, with Connor De Phillippi third in the No 25 BMW M Team RLL M4 GT3 with a 51.227s lap
“It’s awesome. First pole for me in the IMSA Championship after a couple of years,” said Campbell, whose teammate Mathieu Jaminet has put the championship-leading No. 9 on pole on a couple of occasions this season. “Obviously tomorrow is where everything really happens, but we’re starting off on the right foot today on the front row and that’s where you want to be. Hopefully we can do a good job tomorrow. The Pfaff guys have done a fantastic job all year executing on strategy, so I have full faith in them tomorrow and hopefully we can be up here and grab some more points.”
The top six cars in GTD were covered by 0.058s, Montecalvo just missing the GTD track record by 0.004s with his 51.459s lap. Robert Megennis in the No. 39 CarBahn with Peregrine Racing Lamborghini Huracán, that has been quick all day, was only six thousandths of a second shy of Montecalvo’s time. Roman De Angelis was only 0.018s further back in the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage.
Montecalvo is hoping for better luck than he had in the last race he put the Lexus on pole — Canadian Tire Motorsports Park — but there won’t be any LMP3 cars to take him out before the first turn this time.
“We waited a long time to go out there and just tried to get some clear track and the team did a phenomenal job getting us a nice gap out there, but it wasn’t easy,” Montecalvo explained. “That’s everything we had. It was the last lap that came down to it. I think we needed a tenth at the end and if you look at how close qualifying is, that little bit is what we needed, so it was it was very impressive. It was important to me to try to come back after that unfortunate event at Mosport and start at the front and have a repeat.”
Robby Foley was fourth in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3. GTD championship leader Stevan McAleer (No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG) and Russell Ward (No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG) completed the top six cars — all within six hundredths of a second of each other.
UP NEXT: A 20-minute warmup session at 9:05 a.m. Eastern, with the start of the FCP Euro Northeast Grand Prix coming at 3:10 p.m. The race will be carried live on Peacock and tape delayed on USA Network starting at 5 p.m. Eastern.