BMW Team RLL will start Saturday’s Oak Tree Grand Prix from the pole position in GT, following an impressive performance by Maxime Martin in qualifying today at Virginia International Raceway.
The Belgian took his No. 55 BMW Z4 GTE to a best lap of 1:45.978, edging out the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia of Matteo Malucelli by a mere 0.135 seconds.
It marked Martin’s first career American Le Mans Series pole and third in a row for the German manufacturer, all coming with different drivers.
“It’s for sure a great pole position for me,” said Martin, who will team with Bill Auberlen on Saturday. “We know tomorrow it will be difficult, we are slower in a straight line with our engine power, but the team is working out a good strategy so I hope to bring it home.”
The No. 56 BMW of Dirk Mueller, who remains with a chance of the GT title, qualified third, ahead of Marco Holzer’s No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Porsche, which paced Friday morning’s practice session.
The 15-minute GT qualifying session ended early when the No. 4 Corvette C6.R of Tommy Milner went off course and made contact with the Turn 12 barrier.
Milner got caught up in fluids laid down by Malucelli’s Ferrari. As a result, the Italian lost his quickest time in qualifying, but will still start second in class.
In GTC, Damien Faulkner claimed his third class pole of the year and second consecutive. The Irishman peddled his No. 66 TRG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car to a fast lap of 1:52.213.
Faulkner edged out the No. 22 Alex Job Racing entry of points leader Jeroen Bleekemolen by 0.397 seconds.
Spencer Pumpelly was third quickest in the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche, which currently leads the teams’ title.
The Oak Tree Grand Prix takes the green flag at 2:15 p.m. ET.