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May 04, 2014 - 07:18 AM
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Garcia Continues Corvette Mastery At Mazda Raceway With GTLM Pole Position
Posted by: newsla on May 04, 2014 - 07:13 AM
Le Mans News
Garcia Continues Corvette Mastery At Mazda Raceway With GTLM Pole Position


There’s something about Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca that obviously agrees with Corvette Racing. Since 2004, the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) team has won six races and turned seven fastest race laps on the 2.238-mile Monterey circuit.

 

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Antonio Garcia gave the team its sixth pole position at Mazda Raceway late Saturday, turning a best lap of 1 minute, 22.373 seconds (97.809 mph) in the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. In Sunday’s two-hour Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda (FOX Sports 1, Live, 5:30 p.m. ET), Garcia and co-driver Jan Magnussen will be going for their second consecutive Mazda Raceway victory after winning the GT class in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón race last year.

Garcia and Magnussen also will be looking for their second consecutive TUDOR Championship victory after earning a breakthrough win for the Corvette C7.R last month in the Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach. Magnussen qualified on the pole position for that race and will start there on Sunday.

"[The pole position is] a good sign," Garcia said. "You had to focus, and just close your eyes and take a little bit of risks, for sure, and I think I took most of it. I think the lap was pretty good, right on the limit. The Corvette C7.R worked really good. I hope to carry on the momentum that we have. Now Jan knows what he needs to do, just give me the car with a 10-second lead and I’ll just finish."

If qualifying was any indication, expecting a 10-second lead may be a tall order, as the top nine cars in GTLM qualifying were within a second of Garcia’s pole-winning time. On the heels of a Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge victory earlier Saturday afternoon, John Edwards came within two tenths of a second of a pole position.

Edwards turned a best lap of 1:22.578 (97.566 mph), putting BMW Team RLL’s No. 56 BMW Z4 GTE on the outside of the front row. Edwards’ co-driver is Dirk Mueller. Qualifying third was Nick Tandy in the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR at 1:22.678 (97.448 mph). Tandy won the GT Challenge (GTC) class in last year’s ALMS race. This year, he is sharing the No. 911 Porsche with Richard Lietz.

The two-hour Prototype (P) and GTLM race at the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda takes the green flag at 2:45 p.m. PT on Sunday.

LAST-LAP FLYER GIVES FLYING LIZARD AUDI AND PUMPELLY GTD POLE An eventful GT Daytona (GTD) qualifying session came down to the final lap, when Spencer Pumpelly threw down a lap of 1 minute, 26.695 seconds (92.933 mph) in the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS to earn the class pole for Sunday’s two-hour race beginning at 10:15 a.m. PT (FOX Sports 1, Live, 1 p.m. ET).

It was the eighth pole position of Pumpelly’s North American endurance sports car racing career and his first since taking the GT Challenge pole for the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón finale at Road Atlanta last year. Pumpelly and Nelson Canache Jr. will share the No. 45 Audi on Sunday.

The scheduled 15-minute session was extended slightly to satisfy the IMSA rule requiring each qualifying session to have at least 10 minutes of green-flag running time. The session was stopped for six minutes when Jack Gerber went off course in his No. 51 Spirit of Race Ferrari 458 Italia and into the Turn 5 gravel trap.

"It was that second flyer after the green [to restart the session]," Pumpelly said. "We had that extra bit of time. The team told me I was on my last lap, but I didn't see the checkered so I said 'Do i get another one?' So I just kept on it all the way around and put down a great time."

Leh Keen was poised to be the GTD polesitter before Pumpelly’s final lap. He will line up second in the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT America fielded by Alex Job Racing on the strength of a lap at 1:26.962 (92.647 mph). Keen shares the ride with Cooper MacNeil.

Starting third in GTD will be Christopher Haase in the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS with a best time of 1:27.101 (92.500 mph). Haase’s co-driver is Bryce Miller.

The top 11 cars in GTD qualifying were covered by less than one second.

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