Elkhart Lake, Wis. – Adderly Fong, Frankie Montecalvo and Alec Udell took poles in GT, GTA and GT Cup, respectively, at the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Road America presented by Cadillac. Weather conditions for the GT/GTA Round 12, GT Cup Round 11 45-minute qualifying session saw temperatures climbing in the high 70s with cloudless blue skies.
Group one of GT, GTA and GT Cup qualifying saw the GT field on course for a 20-minute segment, with Milwaukee’s Peter Cunningham, in the No. 42 RealTime Racing Acura/HPD/RealTime Acura TLX-GT, setting the early pace at 2:05.770 over teammate Ryan Eversley, in the No. 43 RealTime Racing Acura/HPD/Red Line Oil/RealTime Acura TLX-GT, with Johnny O’Connell, in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing ATS-V.R., in third in the early running after two flying laps at Road America.
Then it was Patrick Long, in the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, taking over the top spot with a lap of 2:05.634, to take over provisional pole ahead of Cunningham, O’Connell and Eversley, while JD Davison, in the No. 33 AE Replay XD Nissan GT Academy Nissan GTR GT3, vaulted to fifth with a time of 2:06.267 ahead of teammate Bryan Heitkotter, in the No. 05 AE Replay XD Nissan GT Academy Always Evolving/Replay XD/Nissan Nismo GT3 GT-R.
As times continued to shuffle at the 14-turn, 4.048-mile course, Eversley improved to third with a lap of 2:05.787, bumping O’Connell back to fourth, while teammate Michael Cooper, in the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R., had meanwhile jumped into fifth place.
At the front, Long was bumped off provisional pole with eight minutes remaining by just .012 seconds as Cunningham turned in a lap at 2:05.622 in his No. 42 Acura.
As the qualifying clock for GT ticked down to two minutes, Eversley took over the top spot from his teammate by .091 seconds, while Long sat in third ahead of O’Connell and Fong, in the No. 88 Bentley Team Absolute Bentley Continental GT3, who had turned in a lap for fifth place on the provisional grid.
As the session concluded, Fong rocketed to the pole with a lap of 2:05.352 — his first career Pirelli World Challenge pole position, qualifying just ahead of the Acura pairing of Eversley and Cunningham in second and third, respectively. Long, O’Connell, Cooper and Davison followed on the provisional GT grid for Saturday’s 4:30 p.m. Central race start time.
The second qualifying segment saw GTA and GT Cup competitors take to the track. Frankie Montecalvo, in the No. 66 DIME Racing Dime R&D Mercedes AMG SLS GT3, set the early pace in GTA with a lap of 2:07.725 over Michael Schein, in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche GT3-R.
In GT Cup, Alec Udell, in the No. 17 GMG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, was quickest early on in qualifying with a lap of 2:13.143 taking provisional pole at that point over Sloan Urry, in the No. 22 TruSpeed Autosport Security National Mortgage/Avasis Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, and Corey Fergus, in the No. 00 Motorsports Promo Byers Porsche, US LED, Motul Porsche 911 GT Cup.
At the halfway point in the second qualifying grouping, Montecalvo continued his pace-setting form, lowering GTA pole time to 2:06.643, and then again to 2:06.566, ahead of Schein and Martin Fuentes, driving the No. 07 Scuderia Corsa Hublot Underarmour Ferrari 458 Italia.
The GT Cup field saw Udell improve pole time down to 2:12.533, while Fergus moved into second ahead of Urry.
Montecalvo would go on to score the GTA pole, his second of the 2016 season, with Schein in second and Fuentes in third.
In GT Cup, Udell took the pole position, his third of the 2016 season, with Fergus qualifying second and Urry in third on the grid.
ADDERLEY FONG, No. 88 Team Absolute Bentley Continental GT 3 (GT pole)
“Road America is one of my bucket list tracks. I was driving a lot of video games as a kid and Road America is one of the tracks I had driven around a lot. The real thing is quite a lot different than the video game. The grip change, repavement and asphalt changes makes it difficult. So the driver has to adapt to all of the different track conditions. The different series rubber this weekend is not very compatible. We took the strategy that we would go out for qualifying a bit later than the other GT drivers. Unfortunately, the first lap could have been better. And I managed to get a lap in at the end and it was the pole. We tweaked our Bentley a little more for qualifying and it paid off. It’s a little warm here but nothing like we had in Thailand last week. The air was 44 C (111 F), 66 C (150 F) for track temperature and it was 72 C (161 F) in the car at the Asian GT race. Now, in the race, it won’t be easy with the Acuras on a straight line and the top drivers right behind me. Traffic will be a key for the race with the GT Cup guys too. It would be amazing to win here in my first time at Road America.”
FRANKIE MONTECALVO, No. 66 Dime Racing Mercedes AMG SLS GT3
“This is good start for us right now. We are moving in the right direction now. We found some things with the car that were causing some issues. We think that the chassis might still be damaged from the Long Beach crash. We have been waiting for a new chassis and we hope to have it for Mid-Ohio next month. Hopefully that will solve some problems. The car right now is very knife-edge and difficult to drive. You have to be on your points because the rear end of the car is really moving around right now. In the kink in fifth gear and the car is sliding around can be very unnerving. The car is improved but
it is not where we want to be. I feel we should be battling for top-five and top-10 in the GT division. It’s nothing to do with the team. I feel the new chassis will definitely help us for the rest of the season.”
ALEC UDELL, No. 17 GMG Amsource Capital Porsche 911 GT3
“I struggled here initially last year but then got up to speed. So this year we started off where we finished up last year with the car. So we were able to make some improvements. I really enjoy driving here. It’s super high speed. I raced go-kart here back in 2007 when the Champ Cars were here. So I was up on the fence watching the Champ Cars go around and I thought, ‘one day I’ll be out there on that big track.’ Now, I’m sitting on pole at Road America. It’s a great feeling. I’ll have to watch for the GT guys coming up but it will be easier than the last race at Lime Rock. That was pretty crazy keeping one eye in front and one eye in the mirror. It’s nice to have a little breathing room here after the Lime Rock race. This is the biggest track we run on this year and I’m able to watch the other cars easier. It’s fun to race here.”
Results are provisional until posted final. GT, GTA and GT Cup next take to Road America for their first race of the weekend scheduled for 4:30p.m. Central time on Saturday. Watch the race live at motortrendondemand.com and follow live timing at world-challenge.com.