Fast laps from Colin Braun and Paul Di Resta in qualifying led to an all-LMP2 front row for Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen while the almighty fleet of Cadillac DPi-V.Rs were uncompetitive.
Braun got around the 3.4-mile Watkins Glen International circuit in 1:32.350 on the sixth of nine total laps he and CORE autosport’s No. 54 ORECA 07 completed during the 15-minute qualifying outing.
That lap put Braun just 0.006 seconds clear of Paul Di Resta who had assumed the top spot just three laps earlier in the Ligier JS P217 fielded by United Autosports.
Di Resta ultimately settled for second as he and no other driver could put together a lap stronger than Braun’s, granting CORE its first pole in the flagship Prototype category and securing the first pole for an LMP2 car since October’s Motul Petit Le Mans where Rebellion Racing’s similar ORECA came out on top.
Braun will spend a year as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship circuit record holder at Watkins Glen as his lap eclipsed the standing record set last year by 2.055 seconds. The Texas native and former Prototype Challenge driver now has seven WeatherTech Championship poles, the third most all-time in the series.
Behind the ultra-close LMP2 cars, Ricky Taylor qualified third as the top DPi driver with a 1:32.638 lap in the No. 7 Acura ARX-05 from Team Penske. Dane Cameron was 0.144 seconds off Taylor’s lap as he qualified the other Acura DPi to the outside of the second row after challenging for the top spot in the weekend’s three practice sessions.
Simon Trummer, having also shown speed in practice, landed JDC-Miller Motorsports fifth on the grid with its No. 85 ORECA. Pipo Derani was only able to turn five laps during qualifying in Tequila Patron ESM’s No. 22 Nissan Onroak DPi before the car came to a stop with engine trouble, but the Brazilian pilot will begin the six-hour race alongside Trummer on Row 3.
Gustavo Yacaman qualified seventh, 0.355 seconds off Derani’s pace and 1.097 seconds back from Braun as the first driver more than a second off the pole pace. He’ll take the green flag in AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports’ Ligier alongside Renger van der Zande of Wayne Taylor Racing, the top Cadillac DPi team in eighth.
The second ORECA of JDC-Miller as well as that of Performance Tech Motorsports’ rounded out the top 10 ahead of the three other Cadillacs, the other Nissan DPi and the only Mazda RT24-P that qualified after Rene Rast’s major crash in Practice 3.
These Prototype competitors will join the GT Le Mans and GT Daytona fields for a 20-minute warm-up session at 8 a.m. EDT Sunday before the six-hour race goes green at 9:45 a.m. Live television coverage on FS1 will open 15 minutes earlier.