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May 24, 2014 - 07:26 AM
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Benitez Edges Schein For Pole In Strategic Session At Lime Rock Park
Posted by: newsla on May 24, 2014 - 07:23 AM
Sports Cars
Benitez Edges Schein For Pole In Strategic Session At Lime Rock Park


Angel Benitez Jr. and Michael Schein took different, but fast, routes to the front row during a strategic Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama qualifying session Friday, May 23 at Lime Rock Park.

 

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Benitez, from Valencia, Venezuela, turned his pole-winning lap of 53.083 seconds in the No. 05 Formula Motorsport/Avid Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car just two minutes into the rain-shortened session on the seven-turn, 1.5-mile circuit. The time was a track record for the series.

"We knew from right before qualifying that it was going to rain," Benitez said. "We planned to do our fast laps at the beginning of the session because we didn't know what time it would start to rain. Everything worked out perfectly."

Schein, from New York, climbed to a season-best second spot on the grid with a lap of 53.102 in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports entry eight minutes into the session, scheduled for 20 minutes. But Schein's quickest lap ended up becoming a last-gasp run to the front row when heavier rain started falling just one minute later, forcing all cars to the pits.

Only two cars entered the track for qualifying in the next 10 minutes, and both returned to the pits on their warm-up laps due to the wetter, slower asphalt. IMSA officials then threw the checkered flag with two minutes remaining in qualifying when teams indicated they were not going to make any more attempts.

"Sitting in pit lane, I saw the drops on my windshield," Schein said. "We had to get it in quick, and luckily I got it in at a good time. My next lap was quicker, but it was just too wet in the West Bend; I was coming down the Downhill, and I was coming down sideways. So I'm happy with second. It should be a good race tomorrow."

Two 45-minute races are scheduled for Saturday, May 24, with the first at 12:35 p.m. (ET) and the second at 5:10 p.m.

This was the second pole of the season for Benitez, who started first and won both races at the season opener in March at Sebring International Raceway. Benitez has started on the front row in all three events this season, as he qualified second earlier this month at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

"The first part of our plan for tomorrow was to start from the pole," Benitez said. "And we have it. It's a really short track, and it's difficult to pass. We have a really good car and setup. So we are just going go plan to stay up front as much as we can, and definitely we are here to win."

Christina Nielsen qualified a season-best third at 53.164 in the No. 25 NGT Motorsport entry. Michael Lewis was fourth at 53.211 in the No. 98 Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian 911 GT3 Cup car. Lewis won both races from the pole earlier this month at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Kasey Kuhlman was the top Platinum Masters qualifier, fifth overall at 53.261 in the No. 15 Wright Motorsports Porsche. Championship leader Colin Thompson qualified seventh at 53.455 in the No. 14 Kelly-Moss/Porsche of Bucks County entry.

Patrick-Otto Madsen at Lime Rock Park
Patrick-Otto Madsen
Patrick-Otto Madsen was the leading qualifier in the Gold Cup class for model year 2010-13 cars. His top lap was 54.373 in the No. 99 ANSA Motorsports entry, a track record for the Gold class.

Michael Levitas was the second-quickest Gold qualifier at 54.443 in the No. 35 TPC Racing entry, and William Peluchiwski was third in Gold at 54.501 in the No. 74 Kelly-Moss/Porsche of Bucks County 911 GT3 Cup car.

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