Dyson takes ALMS pole at Lime Rock
Dyson Racing’s homecoming weekend is going to plan so far. Chris Dyson captured the overall pole position for the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix on Friday at a slightly damp Lime Rock Park. A resident of nearby Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Dyson set a lap of 45.708 (116.093 mph) to outpace newcomer Steven Kane by 0.173 seconds.
Dyson, who co-drives his Mazda-powered Lola prototype with Guy Smith, posted four of the five fastest laps in qualifying for Saturday’s race. He and Smith – leading the LMP1 championship – will try to give Dyson Racing its first overall American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n victory at its home venue.
“I’m so happy. It’s great to be here at our home race,” said Dyson, who claimed his second career overall ALMS pole position. “We have a lot of friends and family here who are cheering us on. So you don’t want to send them home disappointed.”
This weekend also marks the first race for a second Dyson entry – a Lola-Mazda coupe driven by Kane and Humaid Al Masaood. The Dyson team hasn’t swept an ALMS front row since the 2006 Portland Grand Prix.
“I was impressed with both Steven and Humaid, and Steven really showed a lot in qualifying,” Dyson said. “It’s a credit to the guys on our side to give them such a good car. Everyone at Lola has been going flat-out to get us what we need, and AER has been doing a great job with the Mazda engine. We’re very excited for tomorrow. It wasn’t a one-lap wonder.”
Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing’s Klaus Graf qualified third. His best lap was a 46.040 (115.256 mph) in the Aston Martin-powered Lola coupe that he will drive with Lucas Luhr. The Muscle Milk crew won last year at Lime Rock with Graf and team owner Greg Pickett sharing a Porsche RS Spyder.
Joey Hand’s magical 2011 run in ALMS continued with the GT pole position for BMW Team RLL. The American BMW pilot set a time of 50.925 (104.200 mph) in the BMW M3 GT that he will drive with Dirk Müller. The pair won the first two rounds of the season and hold the class championship lead.
Hand was 0.254 seconds faster than Dirk Werner in the second M3 GT, who will drive with Bill Auberlen. Flying Lizard Motorsports was third after Patrick Long’s quick lap of 51.872 (102.298 mph) in the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR he shares with Jörg Bergmeister. The Porsche duo won at Lime Rock in 2009 and 2010, and Porsche hasn’t lost at the track since 2004.
“Racing is a lot about momentum,” Hand said. “You always have pressure when you are driving for such a great team like BMW Team RLL. It has been a great start for me. To start with two races, two wins and now two poles, this is great.”
After the Long Beach qualifying session and race, Hand commented that the M3 GT was the best-handing and well-balanced car he has driven. Not surprisingly, he said the same thing Friday.
“I only did about six laps in the first session. I was pretty confident with the setup in the dry. The Dunlop tires have been very good. From a driver’s standpoint, that’s what you’re looking for – balance and good tires. You give me that combination and I’ll go pretty fast.”
In LMPC, Elton Julian scored his first career ALMS pole position with a 48.105 (110.309 mph) lap in Genoa Racing’s ORECA FLM09. Julian won in class at Lime Rock last season with Gunnar Jeannette – who coincidentally qualified second Friday for CORE autosport. Julian beat his ex-teammate by 0.393 seconds and posted the four fastest class laps of the session.
“By the time we got out, the track was pretty dry,” Julian said. “The car was balanced and comfortable, and that’s what we needed.”
Julian’s view of the start this time around will be much better than 2010 when he and Jeannette came from the rear of the field at the green flag following a mechanical issue.
“Last year was the first time I was here,” Julian said. “We had a gearbox problem in qualifying and had to start from the back. That was a fun way to win.”
Kyle Marcelli qualified the first of two Intersport Racing’s two cars at 48.534 (109.334 mph). He will drive with Tomy Drissi.
Jaap van Lagen didn’t waste time in making himself feel at home in the ALMS. On his first event weekend in the Series, the Dutch driver took the GT Challenge pole with a lap of 54.982 (96.512 mph) in the Green Hornet Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry that he will share with Peter LeSaffre. Van Lagen has a varied motorsport CV with top-quality rides in Superleague, World Touring Car and Porsche Supercup.
He was 0.151 seconds better than Damien Faulkner, who will drive with Tim Pappas, in the Black Swan Racing entry. BSR is the championship leader, and Pappas leads the driver title chase.
“I was a bit late for the one-hour free practice in the morning,” van Lagen said. “After the fourth or fifth lap, I was second which was good. But I was not satisfied with the setup so we came in and made some adjustments. It made the car much better to drive, even in the wet conditions later.”
Despite his experience, van Lagen said it was difficult to prepare for a circuit like Lime Rock – especially coming off his first race at the Le Mans 24 Hours last month. He was eighth in class driving a Prospeed Competition Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
“Of course the track at Le Mans is much longer (than Lime Rock),” he explained. “The speed difference here and at Le Mans are about the same. It’s very narrow and short here and it will not be easy for anyone.”
Nick Ham qualified third in class for JDX Racing at 55.225 (96.087 mph). He will drive with Chris Thompson – another newcomer to ALMS.
Saturday’s race is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. ET with more than three hours of live video coverage on ESPN3.com in the US and on americanlemans.com outside the U.S. A two-hour race broadcast will air on ESPN2 starting at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 10. Worldwide, live audio coverage also will be available on American Le Mans Radio at americanlemans.com on July 9. For more information on the broadcasts, go to americanlemans.com/tv.
1. Chris Dyson, Pleasant Valley, N.Y. (US); Guy Smith, Bracken, Yorkshire (GB); Lola B09 86/Mazda (LMP1), 45.708, 116.093
2. Steven Kane, Newtownards (IRE); Humaid Al Masaood, Abu Dhabi (UAE); Lola B09/86 Mazda (LMP1), 45.881, 115.656
3. Lucas Luhr, Monte Carlo (DE); Klaus Graf, Dornham (DE); AMR/ Lola Coupe B08 62 (LMP1), 46.040, 115.256
4. Eric Lux, Jacksonville, Fla. (US); Elton Julian, Santa Monica, Calif. (Spa); Oreca FLM09 (LMPC), 48.105, 110.309
5. Gunnar Jeannette, Salt Lake City, Utah (US); Ricardo Gonzalez, Monterrey (MX); Oreca FLM09 (LMPC), 48.498, 109.415
6. Kyle Marcelli, Barrie, ON (CA); Tomy Drissi, Los Angeles, Calif. (US); Oreca FLM09 (LMPC), 48.534, 109.334
7. Jon Bennett, Fort Mill, S.C. (US); Frankie Montecalvo, Highlands, N.J. (US); Oreca FLM09 (LMPC), 49.413, 107.389
8. Jon Field, Dublin, Ohio (US); James Kovacic, Forrester Beach (AUS); Oreca FLM09 (LMPC), 49.466, 107.274
9. Anthony Nicolosi, Palm Beach, Fla. (US); Jarrett Boon, Phoenix, Ariz. (US); Oreca FLM09 (LMPC), 49.833, 106.484
10. Dirk Mueller, Monte Carlo (DE); Joey Hand, Sacramento, Calif. (US); BMW M3 GT (GT), 50.925, 104.200
11. Bill Auberlen, Redondo Beach, Calif. (US); Dirk Werner, Kissenbrück (DE); BMW M3 GT (GT), 51.179, 103.683
12. Joerg Bergmeister, Langenfield (DE); Patrick Long, Bellaire, Fla. (US); Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT), 51.872, 102.298
13. Oliver Gavin, Yardley Hastings (GB); Jan Magnussen, Roskilde (DK); Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 (GT), 51.897, 102.249
14. Olivier Beretta, Monte Carlo (MC); Tommy Milner, Leesburg, Va. (US); Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 (GT), 51.954, 102.137
15. Marco Holzer (Bav); Seth Neiman, San Francisco, Calif. (US); Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT), 52.005, 102.036
16. David Murry, Atlanta, Ga. (US); Anthony Lazzaro, Atlanta, Ga. (US); Doran Ford GT (GT), 52.109, 101.833
17. Ed Brown, Las Vegas, Nev. (US); Guy Cosmo, West Palm Beach, Fla. (US); Ferrari F458 Italia (GT), 52.350, 101.364
18. Bryan Sellers, Braselton, Ga. (US); Wolf Henzler, Nuertingen (DE); Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT), 52.388, 101.290
19. Scott Sharp, Jupiter, Fla. (US); Johannes van Overbeek, San Francisco, Ca. (US); Ferrari F458 Italia (GT), 52.956, 100.204
20. Bruno Junqueira, Brazil (BRA); Cristiano da Matta, Belo, Horizonte (BRA); Jaguar XKR (GT), 52.958, 100.200
21. Bryce Miller, Summit, N.J. (US); Sascha Maassen, Lontzen (DE); Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT), 53.211, 99.724
22. Peter Lesaffre, Rye, N.H. (US); Jaap van Lagen, Ede (NED); Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (GTC), 54.982, 96.512
23. Tim Pappas, Boston, Mass. (US); Damien Faulkner, County Donegal (IRE); Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (GTC), 55.133, 96.247
24. Nick Ham, Evergreen, Colo. (US); Chris Thompson, Englewood, Colo. (US); Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (GTC), 55.225, 96.087
25. Dion von Moltke, Coral Gables, Fla. (USA); Mike Piera, Newtown, Conn. (US); Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (GTC), 55.334, 95.898
26. Bill Sweedler, Westport, Conn. (US); Butch Leitzinger, Rebersburg, Pa. (US); Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (GTC), 55.587, 95.461
27. Spencer Pumpelly, Mason Neck, Va. (USA); Duncan Ende, Los Angeles, Calif. (USA); Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (GTC), 55.587, 95.461
28. Andrea Robertson, Ray, Mich. (US); David Robertson, Ray, Mich. (US); Doran Ford GT/Elan (GT), 55.676, 95.309
29. James Sofronas, Newport Beach, Calif. (USA); Alex Welch, Englewood, Colo. (US); Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (GTC), 55.874, 94.971
30. PJ Jones, Torrance, Calif. (US); Rocky Moran, Ladera Ranch, Calif. (US); Jaguar XKR (GT), 56.960, 93.160
31. Jaime Melo, Milan (BR); Toni Vilander, Kankaanpaa (FIN); Ferrari F458 Italia (GT), No Time.
IMSA Cooper Tires Prototype Lites qualifying
1. Antonio Downs, Butterfield, Minn., :51.719
2. Gerry Kraut, North Oaks, Minn., :51.860
3. Ben Searcy, Tuscaloosa, Ala., :51.866
4. Lucas Downs, Butterfield, Minn., :52.044
5. Daniel Goldburg, Delray Beach, Fla., :52.553
6. Patrick O’Neill, Ireland, :53.324
7. Ricardo Vera, Ponce, Puerto Rico, :53.356
8. Darryl Shoff, Reading, Pa., :54.676
9. Robert Sabato, Toronto, Ont., Can., :55.604
10. Daniel Mancini, Parkland, Fla., :55.783
11. Jim Garrett, Austin, Texas, :58.200
12. Brian Fowler, Doral, Fla., :1:03.871
13. Alan Wilzig, New York, N.Y., 1:14.586
14. Ari Straus, Monticello, N.Y., no time
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