LMP – Cocker Scores Drayson’s First ALMS Pole at Mid-Ohio

August 6, 2010

LMP – Cocker Scores Drayson’s First ALMS Pole at Mid-Ohio

August 6, 2010

Jonny Cocker hugs team owner and co-driver Paul Drayson after taking his first ALMS pole at Mid-Ohio. Photo credit: Rick Dole for Michelin North America

The chatter on the Drayson Racing team radio before Friday’s qualifying was that driver Jonny Cocker wanted a tear-off removed from the front windshield before qualifying. The team would only oblige if Cocker promised he would win the pole.

He did, and he did. Mission accomplished.

“I asked very nicely my engineer to clean the screen for qualifying and he said he would remove the tear-off if I got pole,” Cocker said. “So I got what I wanted and so did he! For sure we feel a lot more confident in the car. I do feel completely at home in it. That can only be a good thing. We’re right there with the rest of the class and we proved it today.”

Cocker laid down flier after flier in the British Racing Green No. 8 Drayson Lola Judd Coupe, securing his and the team’s first pole in American Le Mans Series competition. They did win the pole in the first ever Asian Le Mans Series race weekend last October in Okayama, Japan.

The 23-year-old Englishman set the bar first at a 1:11.762, then lowered the mark to 1:10.531, 1:10.524, and then another staggering time on his ninth lap, the pole-sitting time of 1:10.034. The time beat last year’s P2 pole time set by Luis Diaz (1:10.464) and was only six-tenths off the overall pole set by Gil de Ferran (1:09.443).

“We’ve had our issues throughout the year but have been consistently fast,” Cocker said. “We were fastest in both practices and quickest in qualifying and that is a fantastic result!

Cocker and Paul Drayson will share the car in Saturday’s race. Chris Dyson did a good job to get the Dyson Racing Lola Mazda Coupe to second on the grid, at a final time of 1:10.966. Dyson shares with Guy Smith in the No. 16 car in the second coupe on the front row of the grid.

As Patron Highcroft has struggled to find the sweet spot this weekend on its new aero package that was first used at Utah, Simon Pagenaud is only third on the grid at 1:11.360. That said, Pagenaud and David Brabham in the HPD ARX 01-c were able to overcome a 30-mph straight line differential to the fastest prototypes at Utah and still won.

The battle for the LMPC class pole went back and forth between class debutante Diaz and Christophe Bouchut. Bouchut took the top spot, his third pole of the season for Level 5 Motorsports, at a time of 1:15.906. Diaz in the PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports entry was just off that time at 1:16.141. Kyle Marcelli for Intersport edged Gunnar Jeannette in the No. 99 Green Earth Team Gunnar car for third.

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