Pla scores back-to-back Sebring poles

March 18, 2016

Pla scores back-to-back Sebring poles

March 18, 2016

pla_pole (1)Frenchman Olivier Pla may be 4603 miles from his home in Toulouse, France but the Michael Shank Racing driver again proved he is very much at home here at Sebring International Raceway by taking his second consecutive pole position for tomorrow’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

After being outpaced by the Daytona Prototype machines after a post-Daytona balance of performance adjustment, few expected the Le Mans-style LM P2 machines to figure at the front of qualifying but somebody forgot to tell Pla.

pla_pole_1He scored the pole here last year aboard a Honda-powered Ligier for Krohn Racing and repeated the performance again today aboard the Michael Shank Racing version with a lap of 1:51.217.

What is even more remarkable is the fact Pla’s teammate John Pew suffered a crash in yesterday’s night practice – putting the Shank crew in a race against time to get the car back out for qualifying today.

“Getting the pole was tough in many ways,” Pla said.

“First because yesterday the crew had to repair the car overnight. Things were a little bit crazy. I think I love this track, I know this one is difficult but the team gave me a great car. We changed the setup because yesterday we were struggling a little bit and today it paid off, so I have to give them a huge thanks.”

While all teams have enjoyed warm dry conditions in preparation for tomorrow’s race, Pla has one eye on the weather for tomorrow’s 12 hour.

“I think, looking at the weather, it will be very different and difficult,” he said.

“It’s the same for everyone, so we have to be there to avoid any mistake and do our job like always. Obviously, with the BOP changing between Daytona and Sebring, you know things are going to be difficult so you have to extract something from yourself and from the car and put things together.

“We knew we had to push because qualifying and the race were going to be tough.”

Pla has a busy year ahead driving the Ford GT in the FIA World Endurance Championship and reuniting with Krohn Racing in the European Le Mans Series where he will team up with Tracy Krohn and Nic Jonsson for five of the six.

Daytona winner Pippo Derani was second fastest aboard the similar Ligier Honda while the previously dominant Action Express cars were third and fourth – Dane Cameron leading Christian Fittipaldi.

Fastest in the PC class was CORE autosport’s Colin Brown who scored his ninth class pole ahead of Tom Kimber-Smith and Johnny Mowlem.

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