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Smith, Dyson On Overall Pole at VIR

Guy Smith takes Dyson Racing Lola-Mazda to overall pole at VIR…

Photo: Dan Boyd/ALMS

Photo: Dan Boyd/ALMS

Dyson Racing scored its first American Le Mans Series pole of the season following a duel in qualifying between Guy Smith and Muscle Milk Pickett Racing’s Klaus Graf for the top starting position at Virginia International Raceway.

Smith, making his return to the No. 16 Lola B12/60 Mazda, reeled off a best lap of 1:35.965 in the 15-minute P1/P2 qualifying session. The Englishman edged out Graf’s No. 6 HPD ARX-03c by 0.204 seconds.

The pole came in Smith’s final American Le Mans Series race, as he is not scheduled to drive the Dyson machine in the series finale at Road Atlanta.

Smith will share the wheel of the Mazda-powered P1 contender with Johnny Mowlem tomorrow.

“We made a small change before qualifying to help us find that extra tenth or two to get the pole position,” Smith said. “It’s fantastic.

“I’ve been fortunate to run some GT cars, and to get behind the wheel of a P1 car around somewhere like here… No matter how old you are or how many cars you’ve driven, the excitement of driving through the hurry up sweeps flat-out in sixth gear is something else.”

Level 5 Motorsports went 1-2 in P2, led by the No. 551 HPD ARX-03b of Ryan Briscoe. The Australian turned a quick lap of 1:39.796, outpacing the sister No. 552 entry of Marino Franchitti by 0.511 seconds.

Class rivals Extreme Speed Motorsports struggled in the session, as the No. 01 car of Scott Sharp went off-course in Turn 11, damaging the nose of his HPD.

Sharp qualified 9th overall, while ESM’s No. 02 HPD of Johannes van Overbeek was third but nearly one-second slower than Briscoe’s class pole-winning time.

Dane Cameron scored his second class pole in the last three races, as PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports and co-driver Mike Guasch set their sights on securing the Prototype Challenge championship tomorrow.

Cameron turned a fast lap of 1:41.854 in his No. 52 Oreca FLM09, edging out Tom Kimber-Smith in the title-contending No. 05 CORE autosport entry by 0.251 seconds.

The COTA class-winning No. 8 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca of Kyle Marcelli completed the top three in class.

PR1’s Guasch can clinch the PC drivers’ championship on Saturday if he and Cameron win and the No. 05 CORE entry of Kimber-Smith and Jon Bennett finish third or lower.

The Oak Tree Grand Prix takes the green flag at 2:15 p.m. ET.

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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