By Mark Robinson
LAKEVILLE, Conn. – John Dubets and Robert Wickens captured the Motul Pole Award for their respective classes in qualifying for the Lime Rock Park 120, the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race set for Saturday (11 a.m. ET on Peacock and IMSA Radio).
Making his first series start in nine years, Dubets laid down a Grand Sport (GS) track-record lap of 53.691 seconds (99.100 mph) in the No. 28 RS1 Porsche 718 GT4 RS Clubsport to take pole honors. It eclipsed the previous standard by 0.282 seconds.
“First time with the team, first time with the car,” said Dubets, who will share the No. 28 Porsche with Stevan McAleer in the two-hour race. “I would have never expected it with the field stacked like this to be right at the front, but I’m always confident coming into a weekend with a team like RS1 and a co-driver like Stevan McAleer. The lap really kind of came to us; we didn’t have to force it.”
Wickens continued his torrid streak by taking the Motul Pole Award in the Touring Car (TCR) class. Fresh off back-to-back wins with co-driver Michael Lewis, Wickens guided the No. 33 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Hyundai Elantra N TCR to a top lap of 54.048 seconds (98.445 mph). It not only earned the Canadian his first series pole by nearly three-tenths of a second, it ranked as the fifth-best lap turned by any of the 34 qualifiers.
“We’ve felt like this was here for a while, and things just weren’t clicking for one way or another,” Wickens said. “Finally, we had an issue-free qualifying. Yeah, it feels really great to finally get the pole out of the way.
“It wasn’t my tidiest of laps that I’ve done but it was quick. I was kicking myself. I went in a little too deep in Turn 6 and I left a little on the table, but thankfully the Hyundai Elantra N TCR was good enough and I had enough of a cushion to save myself.”