Ford GT Tops GTLM Qualifying At Road America, Mueller Scores First WeatherTech Championship Pole
Saturday, August 6, 2016

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 6, 2016) – In its return to competition in 2016, the Ford GT has seen its share of success both in IMSA Weather Tech SportsCar Championship competition and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

While Dirk Mueller was a key contributor in Ford’s return to Le Mans – earning the GTE Pro pole and joining Joey Hand and Sebastien Bourdais in a historic victory – his first pole and win in IMSA competition have been elusive. That changed Saturday at Road America as he picked up his first pole in WeatherTech Championship competition with a lap of 2:02.451 (119.0 mph) in the No. 66 Ford GT.

With his first GT Le Mans (GTLM) pole now in the books, Mueller and co-driver Hand hope to join the No. 67 Ford GT – three wins, second in points – as winners in the GTLM class in Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase (live, FS1, 4 p.m. ET).

"We are working on that one,” said Mueller. “We had to make a tire choice and thanks to Joey (Hand) and the team we went in the right direction, for today and hopefully tomorrow. I knew Ford Chip Ganassi Racing and Michelin would give us the combination to really have fun. But you never know, this morning the competition was really strong and it was really, really close.”

Mueller’s lap was 0.461 seconds quicker than Patrick Pilet in the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR, who lapped the 4.048-mile, 14-turn circuit in 2:02.912 (118.5 mph). The No. 62 Risi Competizione 488 GTE will start third, Giancarlo Fisichella qualifying the car, co-driven by Toni Vilander, with a 2:02.975 (118.5 mph).

With four races remaining, Briscoe and co-driver Richard Westbrook look to close the 10-point gap behind GTLM points leaders Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner – drivers of the No. 7 Corvette Racing C7.R – this weekend.

While the No. 67 Ford GT and No. 4 Corvette Racing teams have combined to win six of the seven GTLM races this season, Ford had the advantage in qualifying Saturday as Gavin qualified seventh in the No. 4 Corvette Racing entry. The No. 3 Corvette Racing entry that entered the weekend third in points qualified sixth with Antonio Garcia at the wheel.

Riberas Sets GTD Track Record In Porsche, Scores Series-Leading Third TOTAL Pole Award

Alex Riberas isn’t letting the fact that he hasn’t seen the majority of the circuits in North America deter him in his quest for the IMSA WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona (GTD) championship alongside co-driver Mario Farnbacher.

Despite limited practice time, Riberas earned his series-leading third TOTAL Pole Award of the season at Road America, setting a GTD track record of 2:07.520 (114.2 mph) in the No. 23 Team Seattle / Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.

“I can say that I’m in love with America,” said Riberas. “Every racetrack gets better and better. Everything about the car today was sensational. We struggled a bit to get up to speed yesterday, but we did it today. We are looking to get another big win tomorrow.”

After a disappointing finish one race ago at Lime Rock Park, Riberas and Farnbacher enter the weekend third in points, 25 points behind the class-leading No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 of Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan. Nielsen scored another top-five starting position by qualifying her Ferrari in fifth.

After a pair of runner-up finishes at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Lime Rock, the No. 6 Stevenson Automotive Group Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell qualified second, 0.239 seconds behind Riberas, Andrew Davis lapping the circuit in 2:07.759 (114.0 mph).

The No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS GT3 rounded out the top three with Matt Bell turning a lap of 2:07.785 (114.0 mph) in the car he co-drives with Lawson Aschenbach, giving the team its third consecutive front row start.

View full results via Al Kamel Systems at Results.IMSA.com

NOTEBOOK

  • Dirk Mueller became the 20th different driver to earn a pole in WeatherTech Championship GT Le Mans competition.
  • Alex Riberas is the only multi-time pole winner this season in the GTD class.
  • Several teams received penalties revealed in post-qualifying tech inspection and will start from the back of the category. The No. 25 and No. 100 BMWs had all times disallowed for a boost control violation, and the No. 67 Ford, which originally qualified third, was below minimum ride height.
  • The No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R recovered from a minor incident in Saturday morning’s practice session to qualify ninth in the GTD class. Driver Patrick Lindsey went off track in the carousel and upon returning to the track clipped the left rear of Sven Muller in the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche, causing minor body damage to both cars. 
  • One race after helping Corvette Racing score to its 100th race victory at Lime Rock Park, Michelin accomplished a significant milestone of its own at Road America – this time off the track. Michelin Alley, an all-inclusive at-track newsletter that recognizes both Michelin and non-Michelin competitors alike, is celebrating its 100th edition. The Alley was born and first appeared at the 2007 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida and has helped introduce teams and drivers to fans for 10 years.
  • Sunday’s on-track activities open with a 20-minute warm-up at 9:40 a.m. CT.

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