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Cameron Pips Acura Teammate Taylor to Petit Le Mans Pole

Acura Team Penske qualifies first and second for Petit as Cameron beats Taylor…

Photo: IMSA

Dane Cameron narrowly beat his teammate Ricky Taylor as Acura Team Penske locked out the front row of the grid for Saturday’s Motul Petit Le Mans 10-hour race.

Cameron rose to the top of the DPi order with a time of 1:08.412 that put the No. 6 Acura ARX-05 on pole, just 0.094 seconds beyond Taylor in Penske’s sister No. 7 machine.

The pace-setting time from the 15-minute session was also good enough to break Felipe Nasr’s Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta DPi lap record from last year by 0.045 seconds.

Acura Team Penske has now taken five poles from the seven prototype qualifying sessions held so far this season, while the No. 6 car has accounted for two of those.

Cameron will share the No. 6 entry with Juan Pablo Montoya and Simon Pagenaud, while Taylor is teamed with Helio Castroneves and Alexander Rossi.

Row two of the grid for the third Michelin Endurance Cup round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will be shared by the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R and the No. 55 Mazda Motorsports RT24-P.

Last year’s pole man Nasr took third on this occasion with a time of 1:08.612 in the Action Express-run Cadillac, while Harry Tincknell was fourth for Mazda on a 1:08.636.

Multimatic Mazda drivers Tincknell and Tristan Nunez went one-two in the leaderboard with 10 minutes remaining before the positions changed as other drivers improved.

Nunez ended up sixth, behind Ryan Briscoe in the championship-leading No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac.

JDC-Miller Motorsports’ two Cadillacs completed the DPi order as Sebastien Bourdais came through in seventh ahead of Gabriel Aubry.

Pole in the LMP2 category went the way of Patrick Kelly, whose time of 1:11.590 onboard the PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson was 1.5 seconds clear of the second-best effort which came from Inter Europol Competition’s Rob Hodes.

Three in a Row for No. 3 Corvette

Antonio Garcia led GT Le Mans qualifying with a record-breaking lap time to take his first pole of the season and the third in a row for the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R.

Garcia, whose only other qualifying outings this year came before the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona and the six-hour Road Atlanta race last month, hit the top with a 1:15.163 flyer.

This put the Spaniard 0.271 seconds clear of erstwhile leader Connor de Phillippi, who came close to ending BMW’s wait for a GTLM class pole this season.

Garcia’s co-driver Jordan Taylor claimed pole for the last two GTLM rounds at Mid-Ohio and Charlotte.

The two BMW M8 GTEs qualified second and third as John Edwards posted a 1:15.615 to head up the second row of the grid in Team RLL’s No. 24 car.

Edwards is set to start alongside Laurens Vanthoor in the highest-placed Porsche 911 RSR-19.

Despite finishing first and second in Practice 1 and Practice 3, the two factory Porsches were out-paced by their GTLM rivals in qualifying.

The German manufacturer’s sister machine driven by Nick Tandy was sixth, one spot behind the No. 4 Corvette of Tommy Milner.

Shinya Michimi scored his first career GT Daytona pole for Meyer Shank Racing as the Japanese driver put Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry’s championship-leading Acura NSX GT3 Evo on top of the pile in another tight session.

Michimi, who is the endurance-only driver for the No. 86 squad, posted a track record time of 1:19.291 with exactly five minutes remaining to beat Jeff Westphal for the pole.

Westphal was initially shaping up to deliver Scuderia Corsa’s third Petit Le Mans pole in four years, but the driver of the No. 63 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 instead settled for second.

Row two of the class gird will be shared by the No. 12 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RCF GT3 that qualified third in the hands of Frankie Montecalvo, and the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo which placed fourth courtesy of Madison Snow.

Robby Foley wasn’t far behind in the Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, as the top five cars all came through within four-tenths of a second of each other.

RESULTS: Qualifying

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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