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Joey Hand, BMW Team RLL on GT Pole at COTA

Joey Hand takes BMW Team RLL to GT class pole at COTA…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

In a wet and wild day at Circuit of The Americas, BMW Team RLL claimed GT pole for Saturday’s American Le Mans Series race.

Joey Hand, making a cameo appearance in the No. 55 BMW Z4 GTE this weekend, reeled off a 2:17.178 lap time in the rainy, 15-minute session. He edged out the No. 3 Corvette C6.R of Antonio Garcia by 0.265 seconds.

It marked Hand’s first class pole of the season, who is filling in for Maxime Martin this weekend. He will share the No. 55 BMW with longtime co-driver Bill Auberlen, reunited after last racing in the ALMS together in 2009.

“In the dry, we were not the quickest car, that’s for sure,” Hand admitted. “But in the wet, we’re clearly one of the quickest cars. In qualifying, I knew we just needed to put a smooth [run] on it. For us, we were looking to do the first lap and put the big one in. From there, nothing went faster after that first lap.”

Oliver Gavin put the No. 3 Corvette third on the grid in class, ahead of the No. 56 BMW of John Edwards in fourth. The No. 06 CORE autosport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Patrick Long completed the top -five in class.

Up front, Muscle Milk Pickett Racing’s Lucas Luhr took overall pole, peddling his No. 6 HPD ARX-03a to a best time of 2:07.851. Luhr and co-driver Klaus Graf clinched the P1 title last time out in Baltimore with their 6th victory of the season.

It was more than 2.5 seconds faster than the P2 pole-sitting Level 5 Motorsports entry of Marino Franchitti, who ended up 2nd overall.

The No. 02 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD of Johannes van Overbeek was second quickest in class, thanks to a 2:11.869 lap time, ahead the No. 01 ESM machine driven in qualifying by new full-season driver Anthony Lazzaro.

Level 5’s sister No. 551 HPD ARX-03b of Ryan Briscoe did not complete a lap after suffering a left-front hub failure on his out lap in qualifying.

PC qualifying honors went to the No. 81 DragonSpeed Oreca FLM09 of Renger van der Zande, who blistered the field with a fast lap of 2:17.865. It marked both the Dutch driver and the Elton Julian-owned squad’s first ALMS pole.

Damien Faulkner claimed top qualifying honors in GTC, thanks to a 2:27.816 lap time in his No. 66 TRG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.

The Irishman, who shares the wheel with Ben Keating, edged out the No. 30 NGT Motorsport entry of Sean Edwards by 0.064 seconds. The No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche will roll off third in class.

The two-hour and 45-minute ALMS race takes the green flag, rain or shine, Saturday at 3:45 p.m. CT.

RESULTS: Qualifying

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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