Honda, Pla Win TOTAL Pole Award For WeatherTech Championship Season-Ending Petit Le Mans At Road Atlanta

Please see attached press release, below is a text-only version. View full results via Al Kamel Systems at Results.IMSA.com

Honda, Pla Win TOTAL Pole Award For WeatherTech Championship

Season-Ending Petit Le Mans At Road Atlanta

Alon Edges Popow To Capture Fourth PC Pole Of Season

BRASELTON, Ga. (Sept. 30, 2016) – Olivier Pla followed up Michael Shank Racing’s dominance of practice at Road Atlanta, capturing the TOTAL Pole Award for Saturday’s 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-ending Petit Le Mans presented by Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort at Road Atlanta (FOX Sports GO, FS1, Live, 11 a.m. ET).

Pla ran a lap of 1:13.061 (125.1 mph) on the 2.54-mile circuit in the No. 60 Curb Records/AERO Honda Ligier JS P2 co-driven by Ozz Negri and John Pew. The team had led all four of the weekend’s practice sessions prior to Friday’s 15-minute qualifying session.

“From the beginning, the team has done a great job,” said Pla, who won the pole for the team earlier this season for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida. “They gave me a very competitive car and we kept improving each time. I was expecting that more or less. The other things will come tomorrow. It will be a real possibility for the win. We have nothing to lose, we want to put on a good show for the fans, so we will go for it.”

Tristan Nunez will join Pla on the outside of the front row after running a best lap of 1:13.520 (124.3 mph) in the No. 55 Mazda Motorsports Castrol/ModSpace Mazda Prototype co-driven by Jonathan Bomarito and Spencer Pigot.

Dan Cameron qualified third with a lap of 1:13.903 (123.7 mph) in the No. 31 Action Express Racing Whelen Engineering Corvette Daytona Prototype co-driven by Eric Curran and 2016 IndyCar champion Simon Pagenaud. Cameron and Curran enter the finale with a one-point lead over Action Express Racing teammates Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa, 285-284. Fittipaldi qualified fifth.

Alon Wins Fourth PC Pole Of Season For PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports

Robert Alon won his fourth TOTAL Pole Award of the season in the Prototype Challenge (PC) class, running a lap of 1:16.411 (119.6 mph) in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Prisma/Professional Security Consultants/ Westfield ORECA FLM09 co-driven by Tom Kimber-Smith and Jose Gutierrez.

“Honestly I think we had a really good car,” said Alon, a two-time winner in 2016 PC competition. “All I had to do was put my head down and do what I had to do – and the car did the rest. It definitely started getting greasy out there about halfway through the run. I think the fast lap was somewhere in the middle of my session, so that’s probably why it was so fast.”

Alon survived a late charge by Alex Popow, who ran 1:16.470 (119.5 mph), missing the pole by 0.059 seconds. Popow enters the finale sharing the PC points lead with Renger van der Zande in the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport ORECA. David Heinemeier Hansson will co-drive this weekend. They lead Alon and Kimber-Smith by 10 points, 329-319.

“It was great qualifying – it’s a shame,” Popow said. “I’ve never felt so sad for second place. The last lap was going to be our lap, but I made a mistake in turn five. That took us out of contention for pole.”

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

NOTEBOOK

  • The top eight Prototype qualifiers bettered Christian Fittipaldi’s two-year-old track record of 1:14.508 (122.725).
  • The top five PC cars were separated by just 0.447 seconds. However, they failed to eclipse Jack Hawksworth’s track record of 1:16.210 (119.984 mph), set in 2014.
  • Johnny Mowlem will start in his final race as a full-time professional driver. He timed in third fastest in the No. 20 BAR1 Motorsports Gas Monkey Energy/Southwest Funding/Top 1 Oil ORECA co-driven by Tomy Drissi and Don Yount.

“I should have gotten the pole,” said Mowlem, who won the TOTAL Pole Award in the PC class for the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2015 and 2016. “I have no excuses, but my lap time predictor wasn’t working. Sometimes you need that. Congratulations to Robert Alon – he’s a great driver and he deserved it.”

  • Sunday’s on-track activities begin with a 20-minute warm-up at 8:40 a.m. ET. Petit Le Mans will be streamed live from 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports Go with FS1 authentication. Live television coverage begins from 11 a.m.- noon ET on FS1, resuming from 2:30-6 p.m. on FS2. There will be a three-hour highlight program on FS1 on Monday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m. ET.

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