Pruett Lands Long Beach Pole Position


Pruett was fastest under the California sun (Courtesy of IMSA)

Scott Pruett will lead an all Ford-Riley front row to the green flag for the one hour, 40 minute Tequila Patron SportsCar Showcase event at Long Beach after setting the best lap during the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s qualifying session.

Pruett’s was one of a flurry of fastest laps late in the session, coming after the red flag was lifted after Ryan Dalziel stopped the #1 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD on track. Already holding the provisional pole at the time in Chip Ganassi Racing’s #01 car co-driven by Memo Rojas Pruett lapped the 1.97 mile street track in 1:15.325, an effort that withstood late improvements from Ozz Negri, who qualifies second in Michael Shank Racing’s #60 Ford-Riley and Christian Fittipaldi in the Action Express Racing Corvette DP.

Fittipaldi and co-driver Joao Barbosa start the race – the third in the TUDOR Championship season – as championship leaders. The Brazilian’s best lap 1:15.571 was less than three tenths slower than Pruett’s time as the top six were split by just over six tenths of a second. OAK Racing were fourth fastest, their Morgan-Nissan the only LMP2 chassis in the top half dozen with the two Extreme Speed Motorsports cars seventh and eighth, Dalziel’s bringing out of the red flag meaning the had his best lap of the session deleted.

In the separate GT Le Mans (GTLM) class qualifying session it was Jan Magnussen who overcame the challenge of the two BMW Team RLL teams to claim pole position in the #3 Corvette Racing C7.R he shares with Antonio Garcia.

Magnussen set the pole time (1:17.939) with six minutes remaining in the 15 minute session to put an end to the BMW domination of the session during which Dirk Mueller and Bill Auberlen exchanged possession of the provisional pole as they brought times down to 1:18.091 for Auberlen.

Unable to improve upon that time Auberlen kept second place behind the Corvette with Mueller third fastest ahead of the other Corvette in which Tommy Milner briefly held provisional pole early in the session.

The two Porsche North America cars will start fifth and sixth, the two SRT Motorsports Vipers a lowly eighth and tenth in class, sandwiching the Team Falken Tire Porsche.