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WeatherTech Championship

Pla, MSR on Petit Le Mans Pole

Olivier Pla takes MSR Ligier JS P2 Honda to Petit Le Mans pole…

Photo: Brian Cleary/

Photo: Brian Cleary/

Olivier Pla has put Michael Shank Racing on pole for Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-ending Petit Le Mans, in the team’s final outing with its Ligier JS P2 Honda.

The Frenchman turned a 1:13.061 lap time in the 15-minute Prototype session to claim the team’s first pole since the Twelve Hours of Sebring, also achieved by Pla.

It came after a dominant run by the Ohio-based squad so far at Road Atlanta, having topped the time charts in every timed session this weekend.

Pla will share driving duties with Ozz Negri and John Pew in tomorrow’s ten-hour race, which also doubles as the fourth and final round of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup.

The No. 55 Mazda Prototype of Tristan Nunez qualified second, 0.459 seconds slower than Pla, with the championship-leading No. 31 Action Express Racing Corvette DP to start third with a 1:13.903 lap.

Tom Long (Mazda) and Christian Fittipaldi (Action Express) completed the top-five, with the Daytona and Sebring-winning No. 2 Tequila Patron ESM Ligier Honda only able to muster seventh quickest, in the hands of Johannes van Overbeek.

Robert Alon scored his fourth Prototype Challenge class pole of the season for PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports.

Alon took his No. 52 Oreca FLM09 to a fast lap of 1:16.411, edging out the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport entry of Alex Popow, who made a late improvement to second.

The class pole-sitting team of Alon, Tom Kimber-Smith and Jose Gutierrez, are seeking the team’s second consecutive Patron Endurance Cup in tomorrow’s race.

Johnny Mowlem, in his final professional start, will start third in the No. 20 BAR1 Motorsports entry, with Kenton Koch (Performance Tech) and Stefano Coletti (Starworks) completing the top-five in class.

The Petit Le Mans gets underway Saturday at 11:10 a.m. ET, live on FS1.

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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