IMSA: Penske Porsches sweep front row at Laguna Seca

–by Mark Cipolloni–

In sunshine and temperatures just above 20 degrees Celsius at the 2.238-mile undulating Laguna Seca road course, the two Porsche 963 fielded by Porsche Penske Motorsport left no doubts about their strength during the 20-minute qualifying session.

After setting the fastest times in the top GTP class in the two previous practice sessions on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, Matt Campbell promptly appeared at the top of the timesheet halfway through the qualifying session.

With about four minutes remaining on the clock, his brand colleague Jaminet replaced the Australian at the top, only for Campbell to reclaim it shortly afterwards. His advantage at the end: 0.090 seconds.

Colin Braun took third in the Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-06 with 1m14.979s

Pipo Derani was fourth, ahead of Ricky Taylor’s Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport Acura.

Porsche on top in GTD as well

With Klaus Bachler (GTD Pro) and Alec Udell (GTD) claiming pole honors in their respective classes, it marked the first time in WeatherTech Championship history that a manufacturer claimed three class pole positions for a race.

Bachler and Udell claimed top qualifying honors in the production-based ranks, both in Porsche 911 GT3 R machinery.

Bachler took his GTD Pro class No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche to a best lap of 1:24.529, edging out Udell’s No. 92 Kellymoss with Riley GTD entry by 0.010 seconds.

Porsche 911 GT3 R, Pfaff Motorsports (#9), Klaus Bachler (A), Patrick Pilet (F)

“A great result,” says a pleased Urs Kuratle, Director Factory Motorsport LMDh.

“After the strong performance in the sessions on Friday and Saturday afternoon, we’d expected a decent qualifying result – but first and second place? No way.

“This result shows thatwe’re taking good steps in the right direction. I also see that our new customer team JDC-Miller MotorSports is on a positive learning curve. Things are looking good there too.

“Our data gives us hope for race day. We’re looking forward to it. Congratulations as well to our customer teams in the two GT classes. Three poles for Porsche in one day – that’s a dream.”

“We’d already underlined our strong form in the practice sessions. It’s fantastic that we turned this into a strong qualifying result,” concluded Jonathan Diuguid.

The Managing Director of Porsche Penske Motorsport adds: “Despite our recent victory at Long Beach, the team has worked systematically and intensely on improving.

“We achieved maximum progress on all fronts. Our colleagues from the FIA WEC also contributed significantly to this, for example during tests.

“As a result, we’ve made good progress, especially in the areas of software and systems. I’m delighted for the whole team. Hopefully, we can follow up with another victory tomorrow.”

Matt Campbell (Porsche 963 #7): “Finally, the first pole position for the new Porsche 963! We’ve made noticeable progress since the race weekend in Long Beach. That was immediately evident at Laguna Seca. We were fastest in both practice sessions and now we’ve underlined that in qualifying as well. Overtaking is very difficult on this track. So, it’s all the more important that we’re starting from the front row with both cars. Strategy will be a decisive factor in the race. I hope we can stay at the very front.”

Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 963 #6): “A perfect day for Porsche and our factory team: the first pole – and then both cars at the front of the grid. Second place is a good result for me. We made a few small adjustments to the setup before qualifying. That paid off. Our car was really nice to drive. I made a minor mistake on my flying lap. That happens sometimes. Nevertheless, it’s been and will continue to be an excellent Saturday for all of us. I’m thrilled for my colleague Matt, who scored the first pole position for the Porsche 963.”

Qualifying Results

Pos

Pic

No.

Class

Drivers*

Team

Car

Time

Behind/Gap

1

1

7

GTP

M. Campbell / F. Nasr

Porsche Penske Motorsports

Porsche 963

1:14.774

– –

2

2

6

GTP

N. Tandy / M. Jaminet

Porsche Penske Motorsports

Porsche 963

1:14.864

+0.090 +0.090

3

3

60

GTP

T. Blomqvist / C. Braun

Meyer Shank Racing w/ Curb Agajanian

Acura ARX-06

1:14.979

+0.205 +0.115

4

4

31

GTP

P. Derani / A. Sims

Whelen Engineering Cadillac Racing

Cadillac V-Series.R

1:15.007

+0.233 +0.028

5

5

10

GTP

R. Taylor / F. Albuquerque

Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06

Acura ARX-06

1:15.303

+0.529 +0.296

6

6

01

GTP

S. Bourdais / R. van der Zande

Cadillac Racing

Cadillac V-Series.R

1:15.335

+0.561 +0.032

7

7

25

GTP

C. De Phillippi / N. Yelloly

BMW M Team RLL

BMW M Hybrid V8

1:15.648

+0.874 +0.313

8

8

24

GTP

P. Eng / A. Farfus

BMW M Team RLL

BMW M Hybrid V8

1:15.747

+0.973 +0.099

9

9

5

GTP

T. van der Helm / M. Rockenfeller

JDC Miller MotorSports

Porsche 963

1:16.995

+2.221 +1.248

10

1

04

LMP2

G. Kurtz / B. Hanley

Crowdstrike Racing by APR

ORECA LMP2 07

1:19.262

+4.488 +2.267

11

2

52

LMP2

B. Keating / P. Chatin

PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports

ORECA LMP2 07

1:19.323

+4.549 +0.061

12

3

11

LMP2

S. Thomas / M. Jensen

TDS Racing

ORECA LMP2 07

1:19.718

+4.944 +0.395

13

4

35

LMP2

F. Heriau / G. van der Garde

TDS Racing

ORECA LMP2 07

1:20.475

+5.701 +0.757

14

5

51

LMP2

E. Lux / J. Montoya

Rick Ware Racing

ORECA LMP2 07

1:20.625

+5.851 +0.150

15

6

20

LMP2

D. Andersen / E. Jones

High Class Racing

ORECA LMP2 07

1:20.655

+5.881 +0.030

16

7

8

LMP2

J. Farano / L. Deletraz

Tower Motorsports

ORECA LMP2 07

1:21.055

+6.281 +0.400

17

8

18

LMP2

D. Merriman / R. Dalziel

Era Motorsport

ORECA LMP2 07

1:21.912

+7.138 +0.857

18

1

9

GTDPRO

K. Bachler / P. Pilet

Pfaff Motorsports

Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)

1:24.529

+9.755 +2.617

19

1

92

GTD

A. Udell / J. Andlauer

Kellymoss with Riley

Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)

1:24.539

+9.765 +0.010

20

2

27

GTD

R. De Angelis / M. Sorensen

Heart of Racing Team

Aston Martin Vantage GT3

1:24.647

+9.873 +0.108

21

2

23

GTDPRO

R. Gunn / A. Riberas

Heart of Racing Team

Aston Martin Vantage GT3

1:24.654

+9.880 +0.007

22

3

79

GTDPRO

D. Juncadella / J. Gounon

WeatherTech Racing

Mercedes-AMG GT3

1:24.706

+9.932 +0.052

23

4

14

GTDPRO

J. Hawksworth / B. Barnicoat

Vasser Sullivan

Lexus RC F GT3

1:24.727

+9.953 +0.021

24

5

3

GTDPRO

A. Garcia / J. Taylor

Corvette Racing

Chevrolet Corvette C8.R GTD

1:24.907

+10.133 +0.180

25

3

80

GTD

G. Jeannette / S. Priaulx

AO Racing

Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)

1:25.005

+10.231 +0.098

26

4

12

GTD

F. Montecalvo / A. Telitz

Vasser Sullivan

Lexus RC F GT3

1:25.085

+10.311 +0.080

27

5

1

GTD

B. Sellers / M. Snow

Paul Miller Racing

BMW M4 GT3

1:25.260

+10.486 +0.175

28

6

32

GTD

M. Skeen / M. Grenier

Team Korthoff Motorsports

Mercedes-AMG GT3

1:25.433

+10.659 +0.173

29

7

96

GTD

P. Gallagher / R. Foley

Turner Motorsport

BMW M4 GT3

1:25.440

+10.666 +0.007

30

8

57

GTD

R. Ward / P. Ellis

Winward Racing

Mercedes-AMG GT3

1:25.442

+10.668 +0.002

31

9

91

GTD

A. Metni / K. van Berlo

Kellymoss with Riley

Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)

1:25.601

+10.827 +0.159

32

10

70

GTD

B. Iribe / F. Schandorff

Inception Racing

McLaren 720S GT3 EVO

1:25.842

+11.068 +0.241

33

11

78

GTD

M. Goikhberg / L. Spinelli

Forte Racing Powered by USRT

Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2

1:25.927

+11.153 +0.085

34

12

97

GTD

B. Auberlen / C. Hull

Turner Motorsport

BMW M4 GT3

1:26.227

+11.453 +0.300

35

13

94

GTD

J. Andretti / G. Chaves

Andretti Autosport

Aston Martin Vantage GT3

1:26.289

+11.515 +0.062

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