At Lime Rock Park, the times have been very close on the 1.474-mile circuit all day. The top 15 drivers in GT practice were within one second of each other and qualifying took that to the next level.
During the 12-minute session, K-PAX Racing‘s Alvaro Parente and Bentley Team Absolute’s Andrew Palmer set identical 51.950-second laps (102.144 mph). The tiebreaker in this case is quite simply who set the time first. Parente accomplished that in his McLaren 650S GT3, so he gets the pole while Palmer starts alongside in his Bentley Continental GT3. A little more than a tenth of a second back is Wright Motorsports‘ Patrick Long in third. CRP Racing‘s Kyle Marcelli was fourth, while Cadillac Racing‘s Johnny O’Connell was fifth in the No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R. GT3.
In GTA, Martin Fuentes won the pole for the seventh time in 2016 with a lap of 52.449 seconds (101.173 mph), good enough for 12th on the overall grid. Fuentes’ lap was nearly seven-tenths of a second faster than he was in practice and two-tenths of a second faster than the Mercedes AMG SLS-GT3 of Frankie Montecalvo. Sloan Urry claimed the GT Cup pole with a lap of 54.543 seconds (97.288 mph).
In GTS, ANSA Motorsports‘ Brett Sandberg won the class pole with a lap of 56.062 seconds (94.652 mph) in his KTM X-Bow GT4. That was just .018 of a second faster than Lawson Aschenbach in the No. 10 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R for Blackdog Speed Shop, a completely different type of car. 15-year-old Parker Chase in the Performance Motorsports Ginetta was third, followed by Racers Edge Motorsports teammates Scott Heckert and Jade Buford in the two SIN R1 GT4’s.
The Touring Car classes, which are the only classes using the traditional 1.5-mile circuit with the regular Climbing Turn, were just as close. TC saw Adam Poland take the overall pole with a lap of 57.114 seconds (94.548 mph) in his Mazda MX-5. He was nearly two-tenths of a second faster than Dennis Hanratty in the only Lotus Exige in the field. Nick Wittmer was third in a Honda Accord Coupe, followed by another MX-5 for Anthony Geraci. Toby Grahovec was fifth in his BMW M235iRacing.
TCA saw Elivan Goulart, fresh off sweeping the weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, win the pole in his Mazda MX-5 with a lap of 60.519 seconds (87.682 mph). Goulart beat out Eric Powell in another MX-5 and Kris Wright in a Kia Forte Koup. Finally, Travis Washay won the TCB pole in his MINI with a lap of 65.610 seconds (80.878 mph).
The times set the grid for the opening race of the weekend for each class. As of this writing, the GTS race is already underway. The TC/TCA/TCB race will follow at 3:55, while the GT/GTA/GT Cup race will run at 4:55.
About the author
Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.
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