Tandy, Wilkins Score Pirelli World Challenge Round 9 Poles in Toronto

Nick Tandy, of Bedfordshire, England and Mark Wilkins, of Toronto, have captured the pole positions in GT and GTS for the Pirelli World Challenge at Honda Indy Toronto, Round 9 of the 2014 season. Additionally, Albert von Thurn und Taxis, of Regensburg, Germany, was the fastest driver in the GT-A classification.

Tandy, making his series debut in the No. 31 EFFORT Racing Porsche GT3 R, engaged in a great scrap with fellow first-time 2014 Pirelli World Challenge racer Kuno Wittmer, of Montreal, Quebec for the top spot.

Tandy was first into the 1:09s at the 1.755-mile Exhibition Place track at 1:09.703. Wittmer, in the No. 92 Dodge/SRT Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R, then lowered the mark to a 1:09.607. But Tandy responded with the ultimate pole time of 1:09.462 – easily a new track record.

"I'd asked to be continually updated on times throughout the session," Tandy said. "I thought we'd be doing around this sort of lap time. I knew I'd have to pull something out of the bag. Two laps were pretty good, one was good enough for the pole. It's a good improvement from where we started at the front of the weekend."

Wittmer, making his first series start since 2010, will start second. Meanwhile Anthony Lazzaro, of Atlanta, Ga., in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 and Mike Skeen, of Charlotte, N.C., in the No. 2 Hawk Performance Audi R8 Ultra also got into the 1:09 range. Lazzaro and Skeen are both winners this season and will share Row 2.

Points leader and defending Toronto race winner Johnny O'Connell, of Flowery Branch, Ga., in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R, will start fifth with a best time of 1:10.253. The top six on the GT grid eclipsed O'Connell's previous track record of 1:10.304, set last season.

Von Thurn und Taxis makes his return to the series for the first time since Round 1 at St. Petersburg, and had the seventh best overall time of 1:10.342 in the No. 24 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo FL2. Henrik Hedman, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., in the No. 10 DragonSpeed Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 and Michael Mills, of Angleton, Texas, in the No. 41 EFFORT Racing Porsche GT3 R start second and third in GT-A.

"It was great, great fun," von Thurn und Taxis said. "Some water on the track, at I think the ninth corner, meant we had to take it easy towards the end. But it's an incredible track and a bunch of really lovely people. It's an honor to be here." Water was released from a tire barrier earlier in the session because of contact from two other cars.

The GTS qualifying session was a little more straightforward with the fast times coming early in the session, led by the Kia Racing/Kinetic Motorsports teammates of Wilkins, in the No. 38 PutOnTheBrakes.org Kia Optima and Nic Jonsson, of Buford, Ga., in the No. 36 DonorsChoose.org Kia Optima. Wilkins' time of 1:15.381 is also a new track record, as he led the top 10 drivers in eclipsing the previous mark of 1:16.726. Wilkins' pole is his second this season (Round 8, Road America) and fourth of his career.

"Heading into tomorrow, my concern if anything is the pace of some of the GT-A cars," Wilkins said. "Some guys at the back of the field are not that far off our lap times. Their tires take some time to come up. We don't want a result like Detroit, where a GT car splits us up if it doesn't get going and impacts our start."

Wilkins, who trailed Jonsson by one point entering the weekend, seeks a home race victory and his second win of the season.

"It would be great. This is the race I've always wanted to win," Wilkins said. "Tomorrow we'll work together and provide the best result we can for Kia. It's focused on the manufacturer's race and delivering to Kia what they've given us."

Behind the Kia teammates, Drew Regitz of Denver, Col. turned in a career-best qualifying effort in the No. 02 TRG-AMR North America Aston Martin GT4. Regitz, who had a best prior start of sixth, will line up third for Saturday's Round 9.

Jack Baldwin, of Marietta, Ga., in the No. 73 RESET-MD Porsche Cayman S and Andy Lee, of Colorado Springs, Col., in the No. 20 Crown Seven/BestIT Chevrolet Camaro round out the top five.

Saturday's 50-minute Round 9 of the season will go green from a standing start at 11:25 a.m. ET. Live streaming begins on www.world-challengetv.com at 11:05 a.m. ET.

TORONTO, Ont. – Starting lineup for Saturday's Pirelli World Challenge Championship GT/GT-A/GTS Round 9 race, part of the Honda Indy Toronto at Streets of Toronto, with position, class, car number in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, fastest lap time, and speed in miles per hour.

1 GT (31) Nick Tandy Bedfordshire England Porsche GT3R 1:09.462 90.956.
2 GT (92) Kuno Wittmer Montreal Quebec Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R 1:09.607 90.766.
3 GT (61) Anthony Lazzaro Atlanta Ga. Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia 1:09.758 90.570.
4 GT (2) Mike Skeen Charlotte N.C. Audi R8 Ultra 1:09.920 90.360.
5 GT (3) Johnny O'Connell Flowery Branch Ga. Cadillac CTS-V R 1:10.253 89.932.
6 GT (21) Andrew Palmer Chicago Ill. Audi R8 Ultra 1:10.280 89.897.
7 GT (24) Albert von Thurn und Taxis(A) Regensburg Germany Lamborghini Gallardo FL2 1:10.342 89.818.
8 GT (6) Robert Thorne Littleton Colo. McLaren 12C GT3 1:10.383 89.766.
9 GT (8) Andy Pilgrim Boca Raton Fla. Cadillac CTS-V R 1:10.538 89.568.
10 GT (14) James Sofronas Villa Park Calif. Audi R8 Ultra 1:10.791 89.248.
11 GT (16) Nick Mancuso Chicago Ill. Ferrari 458 GT3 1:11.200 88.736.
12 GT (08) Butch Leitzinger State College Pa. Bentley Continental GT3 1:11.388 88.502.
13 GT (10) Henrik Hedman(A)(R) Ft Lauderdale Fla. Ferrari 458 GT3 1:11.854 87.928.
14 GT (41) Michael Mills(A) Angleton Texas Porsche GT3R 1:11.874 87.903.
15 GT (44) Brent Holden(A) Newport Coast Calif. Audi R8 Ultra 1:12.700 86.905.
16 GT (0) Marcelo Hahn(A) Sao Paulo Brazil BR Lamborghini Gallardo FL2 1:12.715 86.887.
17 GT (32) Bret Curtis(A) Austin Texas Audi R8 Ultra 1:12.933 86.627.
18 GT (23) Walt Bowlin Tarpon Springs Fla. Audi R8 Ultra 1:12.960 86.595.
19 GT (54) Tim Pappas(A) Boston Mass. Mercedes AMG SLS GT3 1:13.179 86.336.
20 GT (95) Bill Ziegler(A) Ponte Vedra Beach Fla. Audi R8 Ultra 1:13.793 85.617.
21 GT (89) Fred Roberts(A) Toronto Ontario Dodge Viper Coupe 1:14.172 85.180.
22 GT (27) Jean-Francois Dumoulin Trois-Rivieres Quebec Dodge Viper Coupe 1:14.318 85.013.
23 GT (80) Dan Knox(A)(R) Pilot Point Texas Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R 1:15.508 83.673.
1 GTS (38) Mark Wilkins Toronto Ontario Kia Optima 1:15.381 83.814.
2 GTS (36) Nic Jonsson Buford Ga. Kia Optima 1:15.418 83.773.
3 GTS (02) Drew Regitz Denver Colo. Aston Martin GT4 1:15.608 83.562.
4 GTS (73) Jack Baldwin Marietta Ga. Porsche Cayman S 1:15.720 83.439.
5 GTS (20) Andy Lee Colorado Springs Colo. Chevrolet Camaro 1:15.872 83.271.
6 GTS (60) Jack Roush Jr Livonia Mich. Ford MustangBoss302R 1:15.875 83.268.
7 GTS (1) Lawson Aschenbach Palm Beach Gardens Fla. Chevrolet Camaro 1:16.024 83.105.
8 GTS (50) Dean Martin Westland Mich. Ford MustangBoss302S 1:16.128 82.991.
9 GTS (34) Nick Esayian San Diego Calif. Aston Martin GT4 1:16.566 82.517.
10 GTS (17) Alec Udell The Woodlands Texas Ford MustangBoss302S 1:16.584 82.497.
11 GTS (97) Mitch Landry Lake Charles La. Ford MustangBoss302S 1:17.330 81.701.
12 GTS (11) Tony Gaples Libertyville Ill. Chevrolet Camaro 1:17.358 81.672.
13 GTS (51) Ric Bushey Virginia Beach Va. Nissan 370Z 1:17.994 81.006.
14 GTS (72) Buz McCall Boca Raton Fla. Porsche Cayman S 1:18.828 80.149.
15 GTS (40) Geoff Reeves(R) Cleveland Ohio Chevrolet Camaro 1:18.907 80.069.
16 GTS (96) Brad Adams New Orleans La. Ford MustangBoss302S 1:18.951 80.024.
17 GTS (70) Ray Mason Columbus Ohio Subaru WRX-STi 1:18.981 79.994.
18 GTS (04) Jorge De La Torre (R) McAllen Texas Aston Martin GT4 1:19.537 79.434.
19 GTS (87) Chris Outzen Sudbury Mass. Ford MustangBoss302S 1:21.387 77.629

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