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Jul 06, 2013 - 07:36 AM
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Level 5 Locks Out Front Row at Lime Rock
Posted by: newsla on Jul 06, 2013 - 07:33 AM
American Le Mans Series News
Level 5 Locks Out Front Row at Lime Rock


For the third time this season, Level 5 Motorsports has swept the front row in qualifying for the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón and will have its two Honda Performance Development ARX-03b prototypes lead the P2 field to the green flag in Saturday’s Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park.

 

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Ryan Briscoe took the No. 551 Siemens/Alpina Watches/Ohiya Casino Resort-sponsored car to the pole with a new track qualifying record of 46.191 seconds around the tight 1.474-mile Connecticut circuit. Teammate Marino Franchitti, in the No. 552 Level 5 entry, was a close second in the 15-minute session, which set the overall starting positions for the fourth race of the ALMS season.

Both drivers, along with team principal Scott Tucker, were quickly up to speed Friday morning, with Briscoe setting the quickest time in opening practice. By the time qualifying rolled around, the 31-year-old Australian, who is pulling double-duty this weekend by also competing in the IZOD IndyCar Series race in Pocono, Penn. on Sunday, managed to score his third ALMS pole of the year in another brilliant effort from the Level 5 team.

"It was a great qualifying session today and great to lock out the front two spots with our Level 5 cars again," Briscoe said. "The times were so much faster than in practice. It was a whole second quicker, and around this place, a second is a ton. Temperatures may have dropped a bit but the grip was there. We were able to push and it was really fun to put out some quick laps there.”

Level 5 heads into Saturday’s 2 hour and 45-minute race with momentum on its side, having won the previous ALMS race at Laguna Seca in May and also padding its points lead in the P2 championship. While the competition hasn’t been sleeping during the Le Mans break, all three drivers, including nine-time national driving champion Tucker have won here before, including Briscoe, who took overall spoils in 2007 at the wheel of a P2 car.

“We’re very pleased with the qualifying effort today,” said Tucker, who will handle driving duties of both Nos. 551 and 552 cars in the race. “It was great to see the Level 5 team step up after practice and find even more speed out of our HPDs. It was a tricky day with a number of red flags that cut our practice time short but I feel we have our cars dialed in the for the race. It should be good.”

With 33 cars set to take the start on Saturday, one of the main keys to success will be staying out of trouble. An over-anxious or slightly aggressive move while passing slower PC and GT traffic could see anyone’s day end early at Lime Rock.

"Traffic will definitely be a big part in our cars,” Briscoe added. “You're in it all day long. It's tricky. There are big speed differences in the fast corners. I find that it's a lot about patience and timing and being decisive when you go, so you don't make half moves. There are a couple really good places to pass. The left-hander is a really good, safe place to pass GT cars and down the straightaways as well. We just have to keep it clean and be there in the end.”

The American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix from Lime Rock Park, is set for 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 6, with live coverage on ESPN2 and ESPN3.

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