Pla puts Ligier Honda on pole at Road Atlanta

Olivier Pla in his Michael Shank Racing Ligier-Honda JSP2 LMP2
Olivier Pla in his Michael Shank Racing Ligier-Honda JSP2 LMP2
LAT Photo for IMSA

Olivier Pla drove his Michael Shank Racing Ligier-Honda JSP2 LMP2 to pole position for the Petit Le Mans IMSA SportsCar Championship finale at Road Atlanta Friday afternoon.

The Frenchman's lap of 1m13.061stook the top spot by 0.459s over the SpeedSource-run Mazda Motorsports Lola in the hands of Tristan Nunez who turned a lap of 1m13.520s.

Pla, who was quickest in every session of free practice leading up to qualifying, said: "That was more or less what I was expecting, because the car has been very competitive from the beginning and we have been improving it every session.

"I love the American tracks and feel very comfortable here."

Third place went to the best of the antiquated Action Express Chevy Daytona DP in the hands of Dane Cameron.


Richard Westbrook gave Ford Chip Ganassi Racing its fourth GT Le Mans class pole of the season in qualifying for Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-ending Petit Le Mans.

Westbrook laid down a best lap of 1:18.131 in the No. 67 Ford GT, edging out the No. 3 Corvette C7.R of Antonio Garcia by 0.152 seconds.

It marked the Englishman’s third class pole of the season as he and co-driver Ryan Briscoe look to steal away the GTLM title from Corvette’s Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner, who head into the ten-hour race with a 11-point lead.

Milner qualified the No. 4 Corvette in seventh.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]The No. 62 Risi Competizone Ferrari 488 GTE of Toni Vilander will start third in class, with Joey Hand (Ford) and Daniel Serra (Scuderia Corsa) completing the top-five in class.

Remarkably, the entire ten-car GTLM class was separated in qualifying by 0.735 seconds.

Jeroen Bleekemolen took the Dodge Viper GT3-R to the GT Daytona class pole in its final race in series competition.

The Dutchman reeled off a quick lap of 1:21.305 to edge out the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Matt McMurry by 0.460 seconds.

It marked the first class pole of the season for the Riley Motorsports squad, with Bleekemolen set to share driving duties with Ben Keating and Marc Miller in tomorrow’s race.

The No. 23 The Heart of Racing/AJR Porsche of Mario Farnbacher and No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 of Christina Nielsen, who is on the brink of the GTD title, completed the top-four in class.

GTD and team driver Jeroen Bleekemolen won the pole Friday for tomorrow’s Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, topping GT Daytona (GTD) qualifying for the season-ending race that will be the last appearance of a Dodge Viper in major-league international endurance racing.

Petit Le Mans is scheduled to go green tomorrow, Saturday, October 1, at 11:10 a.m. EDT. Broadcast coverage begins on FOX Sports 1 (@FS1) at 11 a.m. EDT to kickoff continuous live coverage throughout the day on @FS1, FOX Sports 2 and

The team’s usual closer, Bleekemolen will now both start and finish the 10-hour Petit Le Mans, which closes out the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.

“It was great to give the Viper a farewell pole position in its last international sports car race, so I am really happy with that," Bleekemolen said. “It was actually not the toughest qualifying session I have ever done. The car was great, I had a good lap, no mistakes, and there is a pretty big gap to the next car. You couldn’t ask for more."

Bleekemolen first set the 15 minute qualifying session’s fastest time on his fourth lap and then locked down the pole for good one lap letter with an improved track-record time of 1:21.305 (112.4 mph). The No. 33 was just under a half-a-second faster than the second fastest qualifier.

The Petit Le Mans gets underway Saturday at 11:10 a.m. ET, live on FS1.


1 P J.Pew, O.Negri, O.Pla Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Ligier/HPD 1m13.061s 0.000s 9
2 P T.Nunez, J.Bomarito, S.Pigot Mazda Motorsports Lola/Mazda 1m13.520s 0.459s 8
3 P E.Curran, D.Cameron, S.Pagenaud Action Express Racing Corvette/Chevrolet 1m13.903s 0.842s 7
4 P T.Long, J.Miller, S.Pigot Mazda Motorsports Lola/Mazda 1m14.061s 1.000s 9
5 P J.Barbosa, C.Fittipaldi, F.Albuquerque Action Express Racing Corvette/Chevrolet 1m14.160s 1.099s 10
6 P R.Dalziel, M.Goossens, R.H.-Reay Visit Florida Racing Corvette/Chevrolet 1m14.276s 1.215s 8
7 P S.Sharp, L.Derani, J.van Overbeek Tequila Patron ESM Ligier/HPD 1m14.360s 1.299s 11
8 P K.Legge, S.Rayhall, A.Meyrick Panoz DeltaWing Racing DeltaWing/Elan 1m14.446s 1.385s 7
9 P R.Taylor, J.Taylor, M.Angelelli Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette/Chevrolet 1m14.533s 1.472s 11
10 PC R.Alon, J.Gutierrez, T.K.-Smith PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA/Chevrolet 1m16.411s 3.350s 13
11 PC R.van der Zande, A.Popow, D.H.Hansson Starworks Motorsport ORECA/Chevrolet 1m16.470s 3.409s 13
12 PC D.Yount, T.Drissi, J.Mowlem BAR1 Motorsports ORECA/Chevrolet 1m16.495s 3.434s 13
13 PC J.French, K.Marcelli, K.Koch Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA/Chevrolet 1m16.640s 3.579s 13
14 PC J.Dayson, Q.Lall, S.Coletti Starworks Motorsport ORECA/Chevrolet 1m16.858s 3.797s 13
15 PC M.Goikhberg, C.Miller, S.Simpson JDC-Miller Motorsports ORECA/Chevrolet 1m17.205s 4.144s 9
16 GTLM R.Briscoe, R.Westbrook, S.Dixon Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford 1m18.131s 5.070s 8
17 GTLM A.Garcia, J.Magnussen, M.Rockenfeller Corvette Racing Chevrolet 1m18.283s 5.222s 11
18 GTLM G.Fisichella, T.Vilander, J.Calado Risi Competizione Ferrari 1m18.294s 5.233s 11
19 GTLM J.Hand, D.Muller, S.Bourdais Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford 1m18.327s 5.266s 11
20 GTLM D.Serra, A.P.Guidi, A.Bertolini Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 1m18.349s 5.288s 9
21 GTLM J.M.Edwards, L.Luhr, K.Wittmer BMW Team RLL BMW 1m18.382s 5.321s 7
22 GTLM O.Gavin, T.Milner, M.Fassler Corvette Racing Chevrolet 1m18.468s 5.407s 10
23 GTLM E.Bamber, F.Makowiecki, M.Christensen Porsche North America Porsche 1m18.712s 5.651s 9
24 GTLM B.Auberlen, D.Werner, A.Farfus BMW Team RLL BMW 1m18.752s 5.691s 7
25 GTLM P.Pilet, N.Tandy, R.Lietz Porsche North America Porsche 1m18.866s 5.805s 10
26 PC M.Kvamme, R.Bradley, M.Hanratty Starworks Motorsport ORECA/Chevrolet 1m19.407s 6.346s 12
27 GTD B.Keating, J.Bleekemolen, M.Miller Riley Motorsports Dodge 1m21.305s 8.244s 9
28 GTD J.Bergmeister, M.McMurry, P.Lindsey Park Place Motorsports Porsche 1m21.765s 8.704s 8
29 GTD I.James, M.Farnbacher, A.Riberas Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing Porsche 1m21.898s 8.837s 8
30 GTD C.Nielsen, A.Balzan, J.Segal Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 1m22.103s 9.042s 10
31 GTD M.Bell, L.Aschenbach, D.von Moltke Stevenson Motorsports Audi 1m22.114s 9.053s 11
32 GTD R.Liddell, A.Davis, M.Skeen Stevenson Motorsports Audi 1m22.139s 9.078s 12
33 GTD B.Sellers, M.Snow, B.Miller Paul Miller Racing Audi 1m22.143s 9.082s 6
34 GTD C.Lewis, S.Pumpelly, R.Antinucci Change Racing Lamborghini 1m22.231s 9.170s 9
35 GTD B.Curtis, J.Klingmann, A.Freiberg Turner Motorsport BMW 1m22.421s 9.360s 10
36 GTD P.Ruberti, L.Persiani, C.Sbirrazzuoli Dream Racing Lamborghini 1m22.680s 9.619s 11
37 GTD J.Potter, A.Lally, M.Seefried Magnus Racing Audi 1m22.950s 9.889s 9
38 GTD M.Marsal, M.Palttala, C.Lawrence Turner Motorsport BMW 1m24.172s 11.111s 5