By Mark Robinson
LEXINGTON, Ohio – When he drifted off course momentarily late in the IMSA Prototype Challenge qualifying session Saturday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Moritz Kranz thought any chance for a pole position were left in the gravel trap.
The driver of the No. 21 Muehlner Motorsports America Duqueine D08 surprised even himself by recovering to post the fastest lap of the session on his final trip around the 13-turn, 2.258-mile natural terrain circuit. In doing so, the German driver earned his third series pole position in as many races this year.
Kranz’s top lap, 1 minute, 17.372 seconds (105.061 mph), edged Keith Grant in the No. 40 JDC MotorSports Duqueine by a slim 0.04 seconds. Fifteen Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) entries will take the green flag in Sunday’s one-hour, 45-minute race.
“The first two practice sessions, we had little issues because we had no time to test,” Kranz said. “We worked on a setup for qualifying and it was the right direction. Two laps before the end of the session, I actually went off and back in the gravel, so I didn’t expect the car to be that fast after the off-road excursion. But the team did a really awesome job to set up the car for qualifying and now we’re in a good place for the race.”
Kranz and co-driver Laurents Hoerr drove to victory after winning the pole at Daytona International Speedway in January, then finished fifth from the pole at Sebring International Raceway in March. Kranz is the solo driver of the No. 21 LMP3 this weekend.
Points leaders Josh Sarchet and Dakota Dickerson will start third in the No. 54 MLT Motorsports Ligier JS P320. In qualifying for the LMP3-2 class for the previous-generation car, Lance Willsey was fastest in the No. 24 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier JS P3 with a lap of 1:21.800 (99.373 mph).
The race begins at 9:40 a.m. ET Sunday and airs live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold and IMSA Radio.