Acura Domination Leads to Mid-Ohio Pole

Helio Castroneves crests hill during Mid-Ohio IMSA qualifying
Helio Castroneves put his IndyCar experience at Mid-Ohio to use as he sped to the overall pole for IMSA's return to the track. | Photo: Aaron Durant / The Apex

The pair of Acura ARX-05 cars fielded by Team Penske have been fast all weekend during preparations for Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio and extended their mastery of the 2.258-mile road course to qualifying with the fastest laps of the weekend for both pole winner Helio Castroneves and teammate Dane Cameron.

Other than Castroneves and Cameron, the only other driver to hold a fastest lap during the 15-minute qualifying session was Joao Barbosa in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R, whose 1:17.911 topped the timesheet after two minutes of green-flag time.

Once Cameron displaced Barbosa, he and his Penske teammate were the only names on top timing and scoring until the session came to a close.

At the checkered flag, flag Cameron’s 1:11.984 — the first lap of the weekend quicker than 72 seconds — appeared to be the pole-winning time, but Castroneves’ 11th and final lap came in 0.147 seconds quicker, handing the pole to the No. 7 Acura DPi.

Cameron’s time kept him second fastest while Oliver Jarvis’ best lap in his No. 77 Mazda RT24-P was good enough for third. Mazda Team Joest’s other qualifying driver, Jonathan Bomarito, ended the session in fourth, locking out the second row for the team.

Jonathan Bomarito speeds out of Mid-Ohio corner
Both Mazda RT24-P cars will take the green flag from the second row at Mid-Ohio. | Photo: Aaron Durant / The Apex

Continuing the trend, Cadillac locked out the third row, albeit with two different teams. The No. 10 of Wayne Taylor Racing and the No. 5 Action Express machine were fifth and sixth fastest, respectively.

Gustavo Yacaman piloted the fastest LMP2 car, lapping just 0.039 seconds slower than Barbosa to qualify the No. 52 Ligier JS P217 of AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports seventh for Sunday’s race.

The remainder of the LMP2 cars joined both Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPis and the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac on the second half of the provisional grid.

Every lap turned by Performance Tech Motorsports’ No. 38 ORECA 07 during qualifying was initially invalidated by IMSA due to the team touching the car following the session. This is outlawed per Article 40.2.9 of the Sporting Regulations, but the penalty was taken back after IMSA reviewed the team’s contact with the car and determined that they were simply keeping the it from rolling.

The flagship Prototype division will lead the 34-car field to the green flag at 1:05 p.m. EDT on Sunday, marking the return of IMSA racing to Mid-Ohio. The race will air live on FS2.

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