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Fittipaldi Scores Pole for Petit Le Mans

Fittipaldi scores Petit Le Mans pole for Action Express…

Photo: Darren Pierson

Photo: Darren Pierson

Christian Fittipaldi scored the pole position for Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda in an incident-marred and eventually truncated Prototype qualifying session at Road Atlanta.

For Fittipaldi, it’s his first and Action Express Racing’s second pole of the season (Sebastien Bourdais, Sebring). Fittipaldi set a best time of 1:14.508 in the No. 5 Corvette DP.

Fittipaldi led a Corvette DP 1-2-3 sweep after drivers were able to bank only, at most, two or three flying laps.

There were two red flags, and the session ran over its allotted time limit but was extended an extra five minutes to provide more than the minimum 10 minutes of green flag time.

Alex Brundle stopped on track in the No. 42 OAK Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda at Turn 10 barely a minute into the Prototype qualifying session, which brought out a red flag. Brundle was unable to set a time for the remainder of the session.

That wasn’t the only incident. Shortly after the green flag was displayed, Tristan Nunez spun at Turn 3 in the No. 07 SpeedSource Mazda SKYACTIV-D. Brian Frisselle, in the No. 9 Action Express Racing Corvette DP, then hit the stricken Mazda to cause the second red flag.

Once the session got going Fittipaldi was quickest out of the gate.

He’ll share the pole-winning entry with Joao Barbosa and Bourdais; the former two look to secure the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Prototype championship.

Ricky Taylor, in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP, got into second at 1:14.797 with Richard Westbrook third in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing Corvette DP at 1:14.920.

Scott Pruett clocked in fourth in the No. 01 Riley-Ford for Chip Ganassi Racing, while Katherine Legge took the revised DeltaWing coupe into a top-five grid position at just 0.809 of a second off the overall pole.

Jack Hawksworth scored his first, and RSR Racing’s fifth, pole of the season in Prototype Challenge with a best time of 1:16.210 in the No. 08 Oreca FLM09.

The Englishman has been unlucky to convert pace into victories since a debut win driving with Chris Cumming at Indianapolis.

He, Cumming and Rusty Mitchell look for the team’s second win of the year on Saturday.

It was an RSR 1-2 with Bruno Junqueira moving into second at the end of the session, at 1:16.471 in the No. 09 Oreca FLM09. He looks for his first win of the year with Duncan Ende and David Heinemeier Hansson.

Tom Kimber-Smith slotted into third in the No. 25 8Star Motorsports Oreca FLM09 (1:16.599) that he’ll share with Sean Rayhall and Eric Lux.

Kimber-Smith briefly toppled Hawksworth before the IndyCar rising star laid down his eventual pole time.

The No. 54 CORE autosport and No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports entries completed the top five.

CORE seeks to win all four Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races if they can convert a win on Saturday.

The 17th annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda takes the green flag Saturday at 11:15 a.m. ET.

RESULTS: Qualifying

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno) is Sportscar365's North American Editor, focusing on coverage of the IMSA-sanctioned championships as well as Pirelli World Challenge. DiZinno also contributes to and other motorsports outlets. Contact Tony


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