LA Honda World Racing’s Mat Pombo turned in a lap at 99.839 mph Friday (July 21) in order to win the pole for Saturday’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Lime Rock Park 100. It is Pombo’s second pole in the last three races with the new FL5-generation Honda Civic Type-R TCR.
“The car was handling real great out there,” Pombo told Frontstretch afterwards. “We struggled a bit in practice and the whole team… came together and threw some changes at it. We were taking a swing and it went in the right direction.”
Pombo’s lap is not only a new Michelin Pilot Challenge TCR lap record, but an outright TCR lap record for Lime Rock, beating out a lap set by teammate Ryan Eversley in then-Pirelli World Challenge competition in 2018. Pombo’s lap was .150 seconds faster than Bryan Herta Autosport’s Mark Wilkins. Van der Steur Racing’s Bryan Ortiz will start third, followed by BHA teammates Robert Wickens and Michael Lewis.
During the 15-minute session, there were two strategies in play. Much of the field went out almost immediately. Bryan Herta Autosport chose to hang back and run hard in the second half of the session.
JDC-Miller MotorSports’ Chris Miller was fastest early on before Pombo usurped him. Ortiz topped Pombo, but Pombo battled back to set what turned out to be the pole six minutes into the session.
The BHA Hyundais didn’t set a time until after Pombo had pitted due to a minor vibration. Slowly but surely, the factory Hyundais began to improve. Wilkins set the second best time with three minutes to go, but was unable to improve from there.
The Lime Rock Park 100 is scheduled to go green at 4:15 p.m. ET. The race will be streamed live on Peacock.
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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