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Mount Snatches Encore Pole from Teammate Cassels

Performance Tech Scores 1-2 in qualifying for the Michelin Encore at Sebring…

Photo: Brian Cleary/

Blake Mount beat his Performance Tech Motorsports teammate Cameron Cassels to pole position for the IMSA Michelin Encore right at the end of a tight LMP3 qualifying session at Sebring.

Cassels had largely controlled the 20-minute quali run until Mount shot to the top of the leaderboard with a time of 1:59.774.

This put the driver of the No. 6 Performance Tech Ligier JS P3 Nissan just 0.012 seconds ahead of his teammate in the No. 75 Ligier when the session ended.

The top three LMP3 cars were separated by just 0.014 seconds and were the only ones to break the two-minute barrier around the 3.74-mile Sebring course.

Behind second-placed Cassels, who ended on a 1:59.786, was Forty 7 Motorsports driver Joel Janco who submitted a time of 1:59.788 in the No. 47 Norma M30 Nissan.

Janco looked set for a spot on the front row of the grid next to Cassels when he lapped 0.002 seconds shy of the No. 75 driver’s best time, but was denied by Mount’s late flyer.

Pole-sitter Mount will share the No. 6 Performance Tech Ligier in today’s four-hour Encore race with Dan Goldburg and Baylor Griffin.

Fourth on the grid will be the K2R Motorsports Ligier, which Naveen Rao qualified half-a-second off the chart-topping effort.

Completing the top five in qualifying was Lance Willsey in the No. 33 Ligier entered by Sean Creech Motorsport.

Snow on GT3 Class Pole

Paul Miller Racing’s Madison Snow set the fastest lap in the separate qualifying session held for GT3 and GT4 machinery with a time of 2:01.027.

Snow’s fastest lap aboard the PMR team’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo gave him a tenth of a second in hand to Marc Miller who slotted into second for Black Swan Racing.

Behind the Black Swan-entered Porsche 911 GT3 R was the car of the same type entered by Wright Motorsports and qualified by Maxwell Root, while Riley Motorsports’ Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Gar Robinson rounded out the class field.

In the GT4 category, Jade Buford scored pole in the PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4 with a time of 2:11.664. 

Despite beating the times of four LMP3 cars, the GT3 pole-sitter will start the Encore race behind the prototype field because the grid is being sorted by the three classes.

The second edition of the IMSA Michelin Encore is set to get underway at 12:05 p.m. ET.

RESULTS: LMP3 Qualifying
RESULTS: GT3/4 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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