LEXINGTON, Ohio — Ryan Dalziel, of Windermere, Fla., and Austin Cindric, of Mooresville, N.C., scored the GT and GTA poles respectively in Saturday morning’s Pirelli World Challenge Round 14 qualifying session at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, part of the StopTech Mid-Ohio Grand Prix presented by MOMO. Colin Thompson, of Doylestown, Pa. will start first on the grid for Round 12 of the GT Cup presented by MOMO championship.
The 45-minute session was split into two 20 minute run groups with GTA and GT Cup taking the track first.
Early on, Frank Montecalvo, from Highlands, N.J. in the No. 66 Bayshore Racing DragonSpeed Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS GT3 set the pace with a 1:23.543. In GT Cup, Alec Udell, of The Woodlands, Texas, in the No. 17 Amsource Capital/Panther Pipeline GMG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup jumped to the top of the charts with a 1:32.189 followed by Thompson, in the No. 11 Porsche of Bucks County/Penn Valley Constructors/Sherwin Williams Automotive Finishes/Austin Hatcher Foundation Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with a 1:32.587.
The session was red flagged shortly after it started so crews could clean the track to remove some minor debris through Thunder Alley after a car went off through turns 10 and 11, but was able to remain underpower.
When the session resumed, competitors battled for position with Cindric, in the No. 25 Blancpain Racing Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 REX, ultimately posting the fastest time in GTA with a 1:21.463 and Thompson posting a 1:24.496
GT competitors then took to the track for their 20-minute session with JD Davison, of St. Petersburg, Fla., in the No. 33 AE/ReplayXD/NISSAN NISMO GT-R GT3 Nissan GT-R-GT3 topping the charts early on with a 1:21.278 followed by Dalziel, in the No. 31 EFFORT Racing/World PMO Nissan GT-R-GT3 posting a 1:21.379.
Dalziel then posted a 1:20.766, with Kevin Estre, of Lochau, Austria, in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3 slotting into second with a 1:21.048.
Dalziel then broke the previous qualifying record set last year by Mike Skeen (1:20.725) when he posted a 1:20.353. Davison then followed with a 1:20.560.
Before the session ended, Dalziel then posted a 1:19.838 to secure the pole, with Olivier Beretta, of Monte Carlo, Monaco in the No. 61 R. Ferrari of Ontario/Toronto/Alberta Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia with a 1:20.086 followed by Davison with a 1:20.247.
“It hasn’t been an easy year for us in qualifying,” said Dalziel. “This is only our second time on the front row. Last year, we had a great car (with two race wins at Mid-Ohio). This is a track that suits the Porsche. I have always seemed to gel with this place. We have been on the pace this weekend, but we were a little surprised with the pole. As a team, we are really happy. Michael (Lewis) did a great job for fourth. I come in here with some big shoes to fill after our performance last year. It is a perfect time of the year for us to go for race wins. We have had so many podiums and not one race win for my car this year. We going to try and turn it around and get another race win.”
“It was a good run but it was unfortunate that we had the speedy dry in turn 11,” said Cindric. “I think we could have been closer to where the GT cars were in qualifying. The Reiter boys have been great and I am getting up to speed right now. This car is completely different from what I have been driving this year with the Mustang and the Rallycross car. I just have to adapt and learn. I am down to race anything and the sports cars are something I really want to pursue in the future. My mom and dad (Megan and Tim) are very supportive and help me a lot. The hard thing for me right now is that I don’t know what to expect at the start of the race. I haven’t done a standing start this year. I’m not familiar with the light sequence. So I was talking with Dorsey (Schroeder, race director) about all of that. There are many new things for me for today’s race.”
“I haven’t been here at Mid-Ohio for four or five years since being here in a Formula Ford back in the F1600 series,” said Thompson. “I caught back up to it and the racing simulator really help me get up to speed here again. I just wanted to get used to the course again and the simulator really helps for that aspect. With the simulator, you also overlay it with video to get the actual feeling. The track walk also helps me. The track surface changes a lot too, especially on a weekend with IndyCars, Indy Lights and different racing rubber. At first, the car slides around until you get more PWC Pirelli rubber on the track and then the grip level improves. You have to go out every single time as if it is a new track.”
Results are provisional until posted final. GT/GTA and GT Cup presented by MOMO competitors now get set for Round 14 and Round 12 respecitvely. Watch live streaming of the race from the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course at 4:25 p.m. Eastern at world-challengetv.com or torque.tv.