Fernandez Edges Pagenaud for Long Beach Pole

April 16, 2010

Fernandez Edges Pagenaud for Long Beach Pole

April 16, 2010

Adrian Fernandez (left) won the pole for Saturday's American Le Mans Series race at Long Beach. He co-drives with Harold Primat (right). Photo credit: Rick Dole

A scintillating battle for pole has just concluded at Long Beach in advance of Saturday’s 100-minute American Le Mans Series race. Michelin scored three class poles with cars in LMP, LMPC and GT.

Local favorite Adrian Fernandez, the Mexican driver who has a wealth of fans who annually flock to Long Beach to see him race, edged Simon Pagenaud for the pole. Fernandez clocked in at a 1:13.213 to Pagenaud’s 1:13.285.

“I was on the edge, running close to the wall and really pushing because it was so close and we really wanted the pole,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez races the distinct light blue and orange — the classic Gulf livery popularized at Le Mans — Lola Aston Martin for Aston Martin Racing while Pagenaud competes for Highcroft Racing in the HPD ARX 01-c. Fernandez co-drives with Harold Primat, Pagenaud with David Brabham.

The two traded the top spot several times. Completing the top five overall on the grid are the Dyson Racing Lola B09/86 Mazda coupe, Cytosport’s Porsche RS Spyder and the returning Intersport Lola B06/10 AER. with Jon Field at the wheel after a nasty accident suffered during testing at Sebring.

Christophe Bouchut, who co-drove the winning LMPC class entry at Sebring, scored class pole here and starts seventh overall in the No. 55 Level 5 Motorsports Oreca FLM09. Gunnar Jeannette and J.R. Hildebrand were next up.

Jaime Melo captured the GT class pole by more than six tenths of a second in his Risi Ferrari. Photo credit: Rick Dole

Michelin also took the pole and four of the top five spots in GT qualifying. Jaime Melo in the Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 set the bar seven minutes into the session with a new qualifying track record at 1:19.581.

The top three drivers in class eclipsed Wolf Henzler’s mark set last year of 1:20.369.

Henzler, in a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, was second fastest at 1:20.179. The next three Michelin runners were third through fifth, Johnny O’Connell in a Corvette ZR1 at 1:20.308, Patrick Long in the No. 45 Flying Lizard Porsche, and 2009 Long Beach pole sitter Olivier Beretta in the other Corvette.

Times were anywhere from two to three seconds quicker from this morning’s practice. Teams expect to make just one pit stop for tomorrow’s race, which rolls off at 4:40 p.m. local time.

Latest Photos

Latest Video

A memorable IMSA season ended with the excitement of Motul Petit Le Mans

Wednesday October 18, 2023