Michelin Mid-Ohio Qualifying Reports

May 4, 2019

Michelin Mid-Ohio Qualifying Reports

May 4, 2019

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – Qualifying Report
Oliver Jarvis. Photo: Michelin North America

Hotter temperatures, relatively speaking, greeted IMSA DPi and LMP2 cars for its qualifying session ahead of Sunday’s ACURA Sports Car Challenge (live, 1:30 p.m. EDT, NBCSN).

And another qualifying record fell in the process, following a titanic bout between Mazda and Acura.

Ultimately Oliver Jarvis pulled off the Motul Pole Award and denied Helio Castroneves a repeat pole.

While misty and overcast conditions started the session, the temperatures increased from 55 degrees ambient and 62 track to 61 ambient and 73 track by DPi/LMP2 qualifying.

The top four eclipsed last year’s mark set by Castroneves, 1:11.837, in the session.

First up was his Acura Team Penske teammate Dane Cameron at 1:11.655, followed shortly by Whelen Engineering Cadillac’s Pipo Derani at 1:11.721.

Mazda Team Joest joined the party when Oliver Jarvis went to 1:11.006. Cameron though went quicker by two tenths of a second with the first lap in the 1:10 bracket, at 1:10.806.

But then the times fell into the 1:10.7 bracket, with Jarvis ultimately edging Castroneves by just 0.022 of a second (1:10.705 to a 1:10.727).

This is Jarvis’ second pole of the year (Daytona) in the car he shares with Tristan Nunez, the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P.

“I was on a better lap – I knew it was close and it literally died on me two corners from the end. I thought that would cost us pole. I’m delighted. We put so much effort in. This is a big one for us,” said Jarvis, who actually ran out of fuel just before the final two corners.

“We knew we had good pace (for Daytona). But the Penskes looked to have good pace today. The weather has helped us; it’s been good preparation. I gave that one everything.”

Castroneves and Ricky Taylor will seek to defend their win from second, with Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya rolling off third in the second Acura. Derani and Felipe Nasr’s No. 31 car will start fourth.

Also worth noting was Kyle Masson capturing the LMP2 class pole in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca 07.

Sebastien Bourdais. Photo: Michelin North America

Times tumbled in the GT Le Mans class right until the checkered flag. It ended with Ford’s Sebastien Bourdais denying Porsche a four-peat of pole positions to open the season.

Bourdais’ lap of 1:19.124 on his 11th and final lap in his No. 66 Ford GT edged Laurens Vanthoor in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR by 0.275 of a second. Most of the gain came in the second sector, where he was nearly half a second quicker than Vanthoor. He’s sharing the car with Dirk Mueller and filling in for Joey Hand, who’s ill and unable to compete for a second straight race.

“The Michelin tires tend to be very durable on the Ford GT, so hopefully we will be in better shape than everyone else on Sunday,” Bourdais told IMSA Radio’s Shea Adam when looking forward to Sunday’s race.

The eternally snakebit Vanthoor, who has never won an IMSA GTLM pole, will settle for second with the best BMW (Jesse Krohn) and best Corvette (Tommy Milner) ensuring the top four cars in class are all from different manufacturers.

Heistand and AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus team after Motul Pole Award. Photo: Michelin North America

Lexus managed to win both the pole position and race last year at Mid-Ohio with a different partner team. They’ve begun 2019 in the best way possible to defend that, now with the AIM Vasser Sullivan program.

American Richard Heistand set a best time of 1:24.281 on his ninth and final lap of qualifying in his No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3, to end 1.6 seconds clear of the field. Heistand shares the car with Jack Hawksworth, who won the pole here last year. Heistand noted he had to “tiptoe” around the track the first couple laps, but noted how much the track improved

Before the start of the GTD session was declared “flexible” by Race Control, which meant teams could qualify on either Michelin® Pilot® Sport GT Rain or S8M slick compound tires. Most but not all opted for slicks.

Behind Heistand, Ben Keating slotted up to second in his No. 33 Riley-Team AMG Mercedes-AMG GT3. The second Lexus, qualified by Frankie Montecalvo, will start third.

IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge – Qualifying Report 
Kenton Koch with IMSA Radio’s Shea Adam. Photo: Michelin North America

With ever-changing track conditions due to mist and rain, this morning’s qualifying session for the two classes of the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series was a huge challenge at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.  The 37-car field will take the green flag for the two-hour Mid-Ohio 120 this afternoon at 1:45 pm ET. Watch live at IMSA.TV, or listen to the race on IMSA Radio.

In the GS class, Kenton Koch grabbed his first career pole in the MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series. Koch turned the fastest lap in the No. 2 eEuroparts ROWE Racing Audi R8.  Koch (with co-driver Tyler Cooke) will lead the field to the start alongside second-qualifier Jesse Lazare (with co-driver Corey Fergus) in the Motorsports in Action McLaren GT4.

Chad Gilsinger with No. 89 HART Honda Civic Type R. Photo: Michelin North America

In the TCR class, Chad Gilsinger drove the HART Honda Civic Type R TCR to the pole position.  Gilsinger (with co-driver Ryan Eversley) will start the race alongside the Alfa Romeo Giuletta TCR driven by Mark Kvamme (with co-driver Alex Popow), which was second quickest. 

Gilsinger’s time stood as the fastest overall of the session as the TCR conditions were better than the GS ones. However, the grid is set to be re-ordered by class with GS cars ahead of TCR cars.

IMSA Prototype Challenge – Qualifying Report 
No. 23 Norma M30. Photo: Michelin North America

Similar to the MICHELIN Pilot Challenge, ever evolving conditions greeted IMSA Prototype Challenge competitors for its qualifying session. The 20-minute session was the series’ lone run of the day, and started in misty weather before beginning to dry out.

Mike Skeen, driving for the first time alongside Anthony Simone in the No. 23 Gilbert/Korthoff Motorsports Norma M30, set the best time of 1:37.612.

Three Normas lead the 24-car field. Sebring winner Stevan McAleer lines up second in the No. 43 Robillard entry ahead of points leaders Austin McCusker and Rodrigo Pflucker in the No. 47 Forty7 Motorsports car.

Round 3 of the Prototype Challenge season begins at 8:50 a.m. ET Sunday morning, live on IMSA.TV.

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IMSA at Mid-Ohio Recap

Wednesday May 8, 2019