LEXINGTON, Ohio — Jack Baldwin, of Marietta, Ga. will start on pole for Friday’s Pirelli World Challenge Round 11 race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, part of the StopTech Mid-Ohio Grand Prix presented by MOMO. Michael Cooper, of Syosset, N.Y. will start second, with Andy Lee, of Colorado Springs, Colo. starting third.
Twenty GTS drivers took to the 13-turn, 2.258 mile road course in warm, and sunny weather conditions for the 30-minute session.
Early on, Baldwin set the early pace with the time that would ultimately clinch the pole with a 1:27.698, followed by Mark Wilkins, of Toronto, Ont. in the No. 38 PutOnTheBrakes.Org KIA Optima who posted a 1:28.727.
Six minutes in, Cooper, in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Z28 jumped into second on the charts with a 1:28.120 followed by Lee, in the No. 20 BestIT Racing Chevrolet Camaro with a 1:28.478. Lee then went slightly quicker a couple of minutes later posting a time of 1:28.373.
Of note, GTS championship points leader coming into the weekend, Andrew Aquilante, of Chester Springs, Pa., in the No. 32 Calvert Dynamics/Phoenix American Motorsports Ford Mustang Boss 302 qualified 8th on the grid with a 1:28.997. Aquilante’s teammate Kurt Rezzetano, of Phoenixville, Pa., who sits second in championship points coming into the weekend qualified 10th (1:29.265).
For Baldwin, it’s his fourth pole of the 2015 season, and his 12th career Pirelli World Challenge pole.
“To be effective here, I need to get out front and get a clear lap by lap two,” said Baldwin. “It’s more important for us to get a good qualifying spot and get out front in the race, so the pole is very key. Everything we do comes down to the second time by the starter side. We plan our entire qualifying run on that second lap. Then we have to translate that into a good race car. That has been our plan for weeks coming into this race. Unless we can get out front, it is a tough deal for us to stay with the leaders. It’s difficult to get off the corners here. We typically haven’t been good at Mid-Ohio with this car so this pole was big for us. I think I have five pro wins here over my career – IMSA GTO, IMSA GTU, Trans-Am, Camel Lights and World Sportscar. My first race here was in 1973 in an IMSA race. I remember when Les Greibling (first Mid-Ohio owner) was mowing the lawn when I pulled into the paddock one time. I’ve been coming here a long time.”
Results are provisional until posted final. GTS competitors now get ready for today’s Round 11 race scheduled for 5:40 p.m. Eastern. Watch live streaming of the race at world-challengetv.com or torque.tv.