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Westbrook Scores First Pole of Season for Petit Le Mans

Richard Westbrook scores pole for Petit Le Mans with final lap flier…



On a wet track, TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Prototype class points leader Richard Westbrook secured the overall pole for Saturday’s Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda.

Westbrook, driving the No. 90 Racing Corvette DP, set a best time of 1:27.860 on his final lap in the tricky conditions to score both his and the team’s first pole this season.

Westbrook and Michael Valiante lead the pair of Action Express Racing pairings by three points, 279-276, heading into the season finale. They’ll co-drive with Mike Rockenfeller.

Christian Fittipaldi, who won the pole for last year’s race, came up short at 1:28.920 in the No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP. He’ll share the car with Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi.

Circuit of The Americas winners Chip Ganassi Racing will roll off third, with Joey Hand setting a best time of 1:29.882 in the No. 01 Riley-Ford.

The remaining title contender, the No. 31 Action Express Racing Corvette DP, will start from fifth in class.

The No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda was close to being completely repaired following its accident on Thursday night, but was not ready in time to make qualifying.

Additionally, neither Mazda SKYACTIV Diesel Prototype qualified due to the conditions.

Meanwhile with this being an endurance race, Prototype Challenge teams didn’t necessarily qualify their Silver-rated drivers.

It meant that Tom Kimber-Smith and Johnny Mowlem squared off for the pole as the two pro drivers qualifying in the session while the remaining five entrants qualified at least one of their ams.

Kimber-Smith scored both his and PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ first pole of the season, and in the series, with a best time of 1:32.378, in the No. 52 Oreca FLM09.

Mowlem was denied the shot for his second, and BAR1 Motorsports’ third pole of the year, and qualified the No. 16 Oreca FLM09 second just in arrears at 1:32.924.

Both drivers set their best times on their final laps.

Alex Popow was best of the Silver-rated drivers, third in class in the No. 88 Starworks Motorsport Oreca FLM09.

Points leaders Jon Bennett and Colin Braun of CORE autosport will roll off from seventh and last in class.

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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