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Michelin Pilot Challenge

Rabindra Beats Priaulx to FOX Factory 120 Pole

Akhil Rabindra fends off Seb Priaulx to take the GS pole at Road Atlanta…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Akhil Rabindra beat Seb Priaulx to score his maiden IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge pole position for the FOX Factory 120 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

Rabindra commanded the 15-minute GS class session in the No. 09 Automatic Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4, and took the pole with a time of 1:25.715.

Priaulx looked set to challenge the Indian driver when the Multimatic Ford Mustang GT4 driver set purple first and second sectors, but faded in the third to keep Rabindra on top.

The gap between the two drivers at the end of the session was just 0.115 seconds, while Owen Trinkler finished a further 0.162 seconds back in third.

Rabindra is sharing the Automatic Aston with Tom Long, while Pilot Challenge series debutant Priaulx – the son of three-time World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx – is co-driving the No. 15 Multimatic Mustang with Austin Cindric.

Trinkler, who shares Team TGM’s Mercedes-AMG GT4 with Hugh Plumb, will start on the second row of the grid next to Corey Fergus, who made a late improvement in the MiA McLaren 570S GT4.

Rounding out the top five was Thursday practice pace-setter Kyle Marcelli, behind the wheel of the No. 60 KohR Motorsports Ford Mustang.

In sixth was the championship-leading CarBahn Audi R8 LMS GT4 qualified by Jeff Westphal, ahead of Cole Custer in Multimatic’s No. 22 Ford Mustang.

2018 Champion Casey Jr Grabs TCR Pole

JDC-Miller Motorsports driver Britt Casey Jr claimed pole in the TCR category, with a time of 1:27.826 aboard the No. 17 Audi RS3 LMS TCR.

Casey Jr, who is contesting a part-season this year with Mikey Taylor, eclipsed the previous best effort set by Michael Lewis in the No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Veloster N TCR by 0.089 seconds.

Lewis, who is aiming to clinch the title with Mark Wilkins this weekend, settled for second while Shelby Blackstock qualified third for LA Honda World Racing.

Blackstock’s 1:28.558 effort in the No. 37 Honda Civic TCR put him ahead of Michael Johnson who was driving the second of the JDC-Miller team’s two Audi entries.

The FOX Factory 120 is set to get underway on Friday at 1:25 p.m. ET.

RESULTS: Qualifying

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365 and e-racing365, with a focus on the FIA World Endurance Championship and various electric racing series.

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