Petit Le Mans Qualifying Report, Konica Minolta Acura on Top
GTP; The Konica Minolta Acura Secures Pole
The No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura Arx-06 secure a crucial pole position in a winner takes all weekend in Atlanta. With the top 6 GTP cars all in contention for the 2023 championship. The Konica Minolta Acura got the job done in qualifying to secure the front spot for tomorrow’s 10 hours race. Currently the No. 10 Acura sits atop the GTP class championship standings after securing 35 points for finishing P1 in qualifying taking advantage of the formerly first place No. 31 Whelan Engineering Cadillac who finishes P19 overall and 8th in class.
Qualifying threw most of the teams a curve ball as surprise rain started at the very beginning of the session. Konica Minolta now holds a 9 point lead over Whelan Engineering. The No. 6 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963 and the No. 25 BMW M Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8 are still within striking range. The gap is now 45 points for the Team RLL No. 25 and 11 points for the Porsche Penske No. 06.
In LMP2 the weekend started off with a the No. 11 TDS Racing ORECA LMP2 07 leading the championship by 20 points. However, due to qualifying P2 that lead was cut to 17 points. PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports claim in class pole. Ben Keating secured pole with a lap of 1:13.859 (123.803 mph). He stated the follwoing to IMSA after the session, “I had nothing to lose,” said Keating. “I took a ton of risk and completely sent it across (Turns) 10A and 10B and pulled it off. It was pretty magical to get it in that way. Now I hope the championship comes down to that qualifying.”
The LMP2 championship is still up for grabs and the actions in tomorrow’s 10 hour races will dictate who leaves Petit Le Mans a winner and who will be left asking what happened. Action gets started at 11:40am EST.
The No. 74 Riley P3 car will clinch the championship title by starting the race tomorrow. Knowing this the team did not participate in qualifying to avoid any risk of damaging the car before hand. They will start from the back in P51 but by starting the race they will secure the LMP3 championship. That aside, Andretti Autosports No. 36 Ligier JS P32 secured pole. The effort put the team in line to possibly repeat last years result starting from pole. Andretti will attempt to win for the second time in a row tomorrow when the green flag flies.
Paul Miller Racing has already secured the GTD title. However, the No. 27 Heart of Racing received the Motul Pole Award. While the title is already decided, the No. 27 car will attempt to bring home another win to close out the season.
In GTD Pro the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus looks to close out the championship after missing the opportunity in GTD. By making it through qualifying all the No. 14 car needs to do is start the race to clinch the title. It is yet to be determined if the No. 14 car will participate in the morning warm up.