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Holton, McLaren Earn First CTSC Poles at COTA

Paul Holton claimed pole position in CTSC qualifying at COTA…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Paul Holton and C360R led a McLaren 1-2-4 in qualifying for the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Circuit of The Americas 120 in Austin, Texas to win his first-career series pole.

It is also the first pole for the McLaren 570S GT4 in Continental Tire Challenge competition.

Holton’s second lap turned out to be his best, and the best in the 17-car GS field, fending off Chris Green in the No. 69 Motorsports In Action McLaren by 0.140 seconds.

Dylan Murcott prevented a McLaren sweep of the top three spots by posting the third fastest time in the No. 28 Porsche Cayman GT4 MR for RS1, followed by Matt Keegan in the second C360R McLaren.

Matt Bell turned in an impressive drive to the fifth starting spot in Stevenson Motorsports’ No. 57 Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R in the car’s first appearance in Continental Tire Challenge.

The car suffered through gearbox problems in practice yesterday but was quickly on the pace in qualifying, ending just over a second off of the pole-sitting McLaren.

Daytona class winner Derek Jones took the ST pole in his No. 73 MINI JCW with a fast lap of 2:29.735, edging Christopher Stone’s Murillo Racing Mazda MX-5 by 0.124 seconds to earn his second-career class pole.

Jones set the pole-winning time on his third flying lap, then pulled into the pit lane confident that the time would hold and hoping to preserve his tires for the race as tire degradation has been a major storyline for the series throughout the weekend.

It was a strong session for Mazda runners, with Freedom Autosport driver Chad McCumbee in the No. 25 Mazda taking third. Sarah Cattaneo brought the CRG-I Do Borrow Nissan Altima to fourth on the grid, with James Clay in the No. 84 BMW 328i for BimmerWorld Racing completing the top five.

This afternoon’s Circuit of The Americas 120 is scheduled to begin at 2:45 p.m. CT with live coverage on IMSA.tv.

RESULTS: Qualifying

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based journalist and sportscaster, covering IMSA and Pirelli World Challenge. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365’s “Double Stint” Podcast.

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