Patrick Long only needed seven and a half minutes at Road America to secure the Motul Pole Award in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona (GTD) class on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase.
In the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche GT3 R, Long posted his quickest time of two minutes, 6.593 seconds (115.115 mph) immediately before a full-course caution was called after the No. 51 Squadra Corse Garage Italia Ferrari 488 GT3 of Francesco Piovanetti, wound up in the gravel in Turn 12 of the four-mile course.
The field went back to green with three minutes remaining, yet Long and the Wright Motorsports team elected not to return to track. His time held for the duration of the 15-minute qualifying session, ultimately taking back-to-back pole positions after scoring the top qualifying spot at Lime Rock Park two weeks ago.
The red flag played a big part,” said Long, who co-drives the No. 58 Porsche with Christina Nielsen. “The key was getting our lap in early. We didn’t plan on the probability of yellow or red in qualifying. But because of the increased heat since this morning’s Practice 3, we had pressured up and thought to maximize the peak of the tire. It was going to be a short run, so that played into our hands.”
Another team that remained in the pits following the caution flag was Dominik Baumann in the No. 14 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3. Baumann posted a time of 2:06.850 during the first half of the session and will start alongside Long in second place with co-driver Kyle Marcelli.
The top five cars in the GTD starting lineup consisted of five different manufacturers. The championship-leading No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 of Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers will start third; the No. 63 WeatherTech Racing Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 of Cooper MacNeil and Alessandro Pier Guidi will start fourth; and fifth will be the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Ben Keating at Jeroen Bleekemolen.