Nick Catsburg has scored a debut pole position in Pirelli World Challenge, and will lead the field to green from a standing start in Saturday’s season-opening Nissan Grand Prix of Texas.
The Dutchman opened the 45-minute session with an early flier of 2:04.257 in the No. 25 Blancpain Racing Lamborghini Gallardo FL2, to upend Kevin Estre’s prior best time of 2:04.497.
No other drivers were able to get into the 2:04.2 range and Catsburg’s time held up for the pole. The No. 25 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini won last year’s season opener in St. Petersburg with Tomas Enge driving, and Catsburg will look to emulate that feat later today.
Estre improved his time to 2:04.364, which was good enough for second in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports McLaren 650S GT3.
Olivier Beretta was third in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 at 2:04.374.
Ryan Dalziel and Mike Skeen, a pair of 2014 race winners respectively, completed the top five overall. Dalziel clocked in at 2:04.764 in the No. 31 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R while Skeen was the top Audi at 2:04.923 in the No. 2 CRP Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra.
Bryan Heitkotter was sixth overall and fastest of the GTA classified drivers in the No. 05 AE Nissan GT Academy Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, only one one-thousandth of a second behind Skeen at 2:04.924. He also outqualified teammate James Davison, who lines up one spot behind in seventh in the No. 33 Nissan.
Madison Snow was eighth with the pair of new Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.Rs ninth and 10th.
Three-time defending series champion Johnny O’Connell posted a 2:05.217 in the No. 3 Cadillac and teammate Andy Pilgrim was just behind at 2:05.255 in the No. 8 Cadillac.
Both drivers waited until 20 minutes were complete in the session to set times, seeking a clear track. The top 10 drivers were separated by just 0.998 of a second.
Colin Thompson secured the top spot in the new GT Cup presented by MOMO class in his No. 11 Kelly-Moss Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, with a best time of 2:10.055. Alec Udell was second in the No. 17 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup at 2:10.207.
There were no incidents of note in the session.
Round 1 of the PWC season launches from a standing start this afternoon at 3 p.m. CT and local time. Live streaming will begin on world-challengetv.com at 2:50 p.m. CT.