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Baptista Claims GTS Pole in Hard-Fought Qualifying

Rodrigo Baptista takes GTS pole in ultra-close qualifying…

Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com

Rodrigo Baptista will start this afternoon’s Pirelli World Challenge GTS race from the pole, in an ultra-close qualifying session that saw the top-three separated by less than one-tenth of a second.

The Brazilian took his No. 3 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR to a quick lap of 1:58.492, and withstood a late challenge from Drew Staveley for the pole.

It marked Baptista’s first pole with the California-based team also his first in the U.S. in his first trip to Utah Motorsports Campus.

“It was really nice,” Baptista said. “We are working on the car, and it’s much better than yesterday.

“We’ll see how the race goes. I’ll push hard from the start and hope to create a gap on the field.”

Stavelely, who was upgraded from GTSA to the Pro class overnight, ended up just 0.018 seconds slower in his No. 12 Ian Lacy Racing Ginetta G55 GT4 in second, with Martin Barkey set to set to start third in the No. 80 Mantella Autosport KTM X-Bow GT4.

Barkey’s 1:58.572 lap time was 0.080 seconds off Baptista’s pole, in one of the closest qualifying sessions in PWC history.

Nate Stacy is set to roll off fourth in the No. 14 Flying Lizard Porsche, with James Courtney completing the top-five in the No. 99 JCR Motorsports Maserati GT4.

Keith Jensen, meanwhile, snatched GTSA class pole, taking his No. 47 NOLAsport Porsche to the sixth overall quickest time.

Championship leader Lawson Aschenbach continued to struggle, posting the 10th quickest time overall, and more than 1.5 seconds adrift in his No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Camaro GT4.R.

Race 1 of the weekend gets underway at 3:10 p.m. MT, with live coverage on Motor Trend OnDemand.

RESULTS: Qualifying

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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