Gabriele Piana will start this afternoon’s Pirelli World Challenge GTS season-opener from the pole, taking Muehlner Motorsports to the top spot in an incident-filled qualifying in St. Pete.
Piana pedaled his No. 21 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR to a pole-winning lap of 1:18.454 narrowly edging out the No. 14 Audi R8 LMS GT4 of James Sofronas by 0.099 seconds.
The No. 55 PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4 of Jade Buford was third quickest.
It marked Piana’s first career pole in both the Swiss driver and team’s PWC debuts.
Defending class champion Lawson Aschenbach will roll off from fourth in the No. 1 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R, ahead of the GTSA class pole-sitting No. 04 GMG Audi of George Kurtz in fifth overall.
Qualifying came to an early end following an incident for the No. 50 Panoz Avezzano GT4 of Ian James, which brought out the session’s second red flag.
The No. 89 JCR Maserati GT4 of Fred Roberts stopped on track to trigger an early red but was quickly cleared.
Qualifying was the first opportunity for teams to run in revised technical configurations, following sweeping Balance of Performance adjustments made overnight to seven of the 11 GT4-spec cars.
GTS Race 1 is set to get underway at 5:05 p.m. ET with live coverage on World-Challenge.com.