Dirk Mueller secures Road America pole in Ford GT
Dirk Mueller held off teammate Ryan Briscoe to secure the pole and guarantee a 1-2 start for Chip Ganassi Racing. | Photo: Aaron Durant / The Apex

The pair of Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs, which were strong in Friday’s afternoon practice, turned up the heat to go 1-2 in GT Le Mans qualifying for Sunday’s two-hour, 40-minute race at Road America.

Green throughout its 15-minute duration, GTLM qualifying was fast-paced with both Fords battling for the top spot. Mueller’s final time, a 2:02.479, was an improvement over the initial quick lap that put him atop the running order.

Briscoe’s last attempt to challenge for the pole, a 2:02.650, was just 0.171 seconds shy of the mark set by Mueller and ensured a front-row sweep for the twin Ford GTs.

The speed laid down around the lengthy circuit by Mueller enabled the Ganassi team to secure its fourth GTLM pole of 2018 and the second for Mueller and co-driver Joey Hand. Additionally, Mueller has now earned the pole at Road America in each of the last three years.

Antonio Garcia proved to be the Ganassi drivers’ stiffest competition behind the wheel of his No. 3 Corvette C7.R. Garcia’s best time was 0.267 seconds off Mueller’s, placing a third American car in the top three.

Laurens Vanthoor’s final flyer placed the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR fourth in the qualifying order ahead of Oliver Gavin’s No. 4 Corvette.

The pair of BMW M8 GTEs fielded by BMW Team RLL filled positions six and seven ahead of Nick Tandy who brought up the rear of the eight-car class with a lap 1.2 seconds slower than Mueller’s pole-winning pace.

Wright Scores Second Consecutive GTD Pole

Despite the 15-minute GT Daytona qualifying session barely making its minimum time requirement due to a lengthy red flag, Patrick Long’s best lap in Wright Motorsports’ No. 58 Porsche 911 GT3 R ensured he’ll lead the class to the green flag on Sunday.

Long’s 2:06.593 was 0.257 seconds faster than Dominik Baumann in the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 — the only 3GT Racing machine on track after an engine issue sidelined the No. 15 car.

The pole for Long marks his second in a row after he pedaled Wright’s Porsche to the top of the timesheet in the 15-minute qualifying outing two weeks ago at Connecticut’s Lime Rock Park.

Madison Snow, leading the GTD points with co-driver Bryan Sellers, ended qualifying with the third-fastest lap in the Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini.

Patrick Long grabs Road America pole
Patrick Long qualified his Park Place Motorsports Porsche 0.257 seconds clear of Dominik Baumann. | Photo: Aaron Durant / The Apex

Cooper MacNeil and Ben Keating completed the top five for Scuderia Corsa and Riley Motorsports, respectively.

Patrick Lindsey, whose Park Place Motorsports Porsche topped Practice 3 on Saturday morning, finished the session with the sixth-fastest lap ahead of championship contender Katherine Legge in Meyer Shank Racing’s No. 86 Acura, which will roll off eighth in class.

The session was slowed for nearly five minutes when the No. 51 Squadra Corse Garage Italia Ferrari went off course and had to be retrieved by safety workers. Long had finalized what would be his pole-earning lap moments before the red flag came out.

Next up for both GT classes is a brief 20-minute warm-up session Sunday at 8:30 a.m. CDT followed by the two-hour, 40-minute race at 1:35 p.m. with live coverage on FS1.

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