Hand Beats Porsches to Long Beach Pole

Joey Hand qualifies 66 Ganassi Ford at Long Beach Grand Prix
Joey Hand outpaced the Porsche duo to put Chip Ganassi Racing's No. 66 Ford GT on the GTLM pole at Long Beach. | Photo: Perry Nelson / IMSA

Joey Hand overcame pressure from the whole of the Porsche GT Team to capture the GT Le Mans pole for Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round on the streets of Long Beach.

Hand’s most rapid revolution of the 1.968-mile temporary street circuit, at 1:16.869, represents the fastest time of Friday’s running as well as a new track record in GTLM.

Laurens Vanthoor qualified the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR to the outside of the front row and will start the 100-minute contest from alongside Hand. Vanthoor’s Porsche stablemate Patrick Pilet laid down the third-fastest lap in the sister No. 911 Porsche, qualifying 0.394 seconds back from Hand.

Jan Magnussen and the No. 3 Corvette C7.R came within 0.030 seconds of a third-place starting position for Saturday’s race but instead will start fourth ahead of its sister car. Magnussen was the previous track record holder, but his 1:16.909 from last year was beaten by just four-hundredths of a second by Hand.

Behind the Corvette Racing duo, Richard Westbrook will take the green flag in the No. 67 Ford GT from sixth after qualifying nearly seven-tenths of a second slower than the other Chip Ganassi Racing-run Ford.

Connor de Philippi and Jesse Krohn could do no better than seventh and eighth in qualifying for the BMW M8 GTE’s debut race on a street circuit.

Live television coverage of the third WeatherTech Championship race of the year will open on FOX at 4 p.m. EDT, with the green flag to follow just five minutes later at 1:05 p.m. PDT.

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