Laguna Seca Pole to Van Overbeek

IMSA

It was the first overall pole for van Overbeek, coming at the Oakland native’s home track for Sunday’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda. (Photo: Brian Cleary/Getty Images)

Two different specs of Prototypes went head-to-head for the pole in TUDOR United SportsCar Championship qualifying Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Johannes van Overbeek in a P2-spec HPD ARX-03b/Honda and Richard Westbrook in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing Corvette DP swapped the top spot three times over the final few minutes of the 15-minute session. In the end, it was van Overbeek in the No. 2 Tequila Patrón entry who earned the TOTAL Pole Award with a lap of 1 minute, 18.561 seconds (102.555 mph).

It was the first overall pole for van Overbeek, coming at the Oakland native’s home track for Sunday’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda.

“I'd much rather win than come in on the pole, but it's a start,” he said. “The long fast corners particularly suit this kind of car. We're still not nearly as fast in the straightaways [as the Daytona Prototypes], but we make up for it in other places, so I think that will make for a very interesting race tomorrow.

“It was a little challenging for me because the predictive lap timer didn't work, so I just wanted to push hard but I didn't want to throw it off. But finally the car came in, the tires came in right at the end and I made up all the time coming down the hill.”

Westbrook came up 0.227 seconds shy of the pole with a lap of 1:18.661 (102.259 mph).

A pair of P2 Prototypes will share the second row. Van Overbeek’s Extreme Speed Motorsports teammate Ryan Dalziel qualified third with a lap of 1:18.970 (102.024 mph) in the No. 1 Tequila Patrón HPD ARX-03b/Honda, followed by Gustavo Yacaman in the No. 42 OAK Racing Nissan/Morgan, 1:19.076 (101.887 mph).

The Prototypes will be joined by the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class in Sunday’s two-hour race, beginning at 2:45 p.m. PT (Live, FOX Sports 1, 5:30 p.m. ET).

Bruno Junqueira knew he needed a perfect lap in the final minutes of Prototype Challenge (PC) qualifying at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca if he was going to earn his second consecutive TOTAL Pole Award. He did just that, recovering from a spin earlier in the 15-minute session to best Renger van der Zande by 0.394 seconds with a lap of 1 minute, 19.723 seconds (101.060 MPH) in the No. 09 RSR Racing ORECA FLM09.

“The competition was getting closer to me so on the last lap i said ‘That's it, I have to give it 100%,” said Junqueira. “It was a perfect lap. I was improving a little bit each lap as the tires were getting warmer. I couldn’t be happier.”

Junqueira’s experience at Mazda Raceway dates back to his days in Champ Car where he earned podiums in 2003 and 2004. He also finished second in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón PC class in 2012. Still, an early spin nearly derailed an eventual pole-winning attempt.


“The car had a little bit of understeer mid-corner,” he said. “I tried to go too fast on the power and made it over-rotate a bit. It was a silly spin, but with this car it happens. I was able to recover and move on.”

Van der Zande was second in PC qualifying in the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport ORECA FLM09 with a lap of 1:20.117 (100.563 mph), while Sean Rayhall qualified the No. 25 8Star Motorsports entry third at 1:20.421 (100.183 mph).

The PC class will be joined by the GT Daytona (GTD) competitors in a two-hour race, beginning at 10:15 a.m. PT.

Garcia Continues Corvette Mastery At Mazda Raceway
There’s something about Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca that obviously agrees with Corvette Racing. Since 2004, the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) team has won six races and turned seven fastest race laps on the 2.238-mile Monterey circuit.

Antonio Garcia gave the team its sixth pole position at Mazda Raceway late Saturday, turning a best lap of 1 minute, 22.373 seconds (97.809 mph) in the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. In Sunday’s two-hour Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda (FOX Sports 1, Live, 5:30 p.m. ET), Garcia and co-driver Jan Magnussen will be going for their second consecutive Mazda Raceway victory after winning the GT class in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón race last year.

Garcia and Magnussen also will be looking for their second consecutive TUDOR Championship victory after earning a breakthrough win for the Corvette C7.R last month in the Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach. Magnussen qualified on the pole position for that race and will start there on Sunday.

“[The pole position is] a good sign,” Garcia said. “You had to focus, and just close your eyes and take a little bit of risks, for sure, and I think I took most of it. I think the lap was pretty good, right on the limit. The Corvette C7.R worked really good. I hope to carry on the momentum that we have. Now Jan knows what he needs to do, just give me the car with a 10-second lead and I’ll just finish.”

If qualifying was any indication, expecting a 10-second lead may be a tall order, as the top nine cars in GTLM qualifying were within a second of Garcia’s pole-winning time. On the heels of a Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge victory earlier Saturday afternoon, John Edwards came within two tenths of a second of a pole position.

Edwards turned a best lap of 1:22.578 (97.566 mph), putting BMW Team RLL’s No. 56 BMW Z4 GTE on the outside of the front row. Edwards’ co-driver is Dirk Mueller. Qualifying third was Nick Tandy in the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR at 1:22.678 (97.448 mph). Tandy won the GT Challenge (GTC) class in last year’s ALMS race. This year, he is sharing the No. 911 Porsche with Richard Lietz.

The two-hour Prototype (P) and GTLM race at the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda takes the green flag at 2:45 p.m. PT on Sunday.

An eventful GT Daytona (GTD) qualifying session came down to the final lap, when Spencer Pumpelly threw down a lap of 1 minute, 26.695 seconds (92.933 mph) in the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS to earn the class pole for Sunday’s two-hour race beginning at 10:15 a.m. PT.

It was the eighth pole position of Pumpelly’s North American endurance sports car racing career and his first since taking the GT Challenge pole for the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón finale at Road Atlanta last year. Pumpelly and Nelson Canache Jr. will share the No. 45 Audi on Sunday.

The scheduled 15-minute session was extended slightly to satisfy the IMSA rule requiring each qualifying session to have at least 10 minutes of green-flag running time. The session was stopped for six minutes when Jack Gerber went off course in his No. 51 Spirit of Race Ferrari 458 Italia and into the Turn 5 gravel trap.

“It was that second flyer after the green [to restart the session],” Pumpelly said. “We had that extra bit of time. The team told me I was on my last lap, but I didn't see the checkered so I said 'Do i get another one?' So I just kept on it all the way around and put down a great time.”

Leh Keen was poised to be the GTD polesitter before Pumpelly’s final lap. He will line up second in the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT America fielded by Alex Job Racing on the strength of a lap at 1:26.962 (92.647 mph). Keen shares the ride with Cooper MacNeil.

Starting third in GTD will be Christopher Haase in the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS with a best time of 1:27.101 (92.500 mph). Haase’s co-driver is Bryce Miller.

The top 11 cars in GTD qualifying were covered by less than one second.

Motor Racing Network will have live coverage of the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. It's the fourth round of the inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship featuring two races - with MRN air times at 1:15 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. (ET)., and live streaming at MRN.com. MRN coverage from Salinas, Calif., will be anchored by Eli Gold and Greg Creamer.

Race Center

Road America

@ Road America
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Radio Start:
MRN, 4:45 p.m. (ET)

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