Liefooghe, Ellsworth & Weisberg Fastest in TC, Henderson in TCA, Pipal in TCB
ALTON, Va. – Veteran Greg Liefooghe of San Francisco put the No. 20 ART Racing/Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M235iR on the pole position Saturday morning at VIRginia International Raceway in the Touring Car class of the Pirelli World Challenge Nissan 95.81Grand Prix of VIR for Rounds 1 and 2.
Liefooghe recorded the best lap time over the challenging 3.27-mile, 17-turn permanent road circuit in southern Virginia with a clocking of two minutes, 1.697 seconds for an average speed of 96.73 miles per hour. A stellar 31-car TC field is set for a 1:05 p.m. EDT start Saturday in the opening Touring Car race of the 2017 PWC season.
Taking second in the TC division was Paul Holton of Orlando, Fla., in the al-new No. 71 Audi RS 3 LMS sedan from C360R with a 2:01.981 (96.50 mph) followed by Cody Ellsworth of Jupiter, Fla., in the No. 11 Racerlink Motorsports Porsche Cayman at 2:02.97 (96.41 mph). Rounding out the top-five in the TC category was Justin Raphael of Franklin Lakes, N.J., in the No. 29 Classic BMW BMW M235iR at 2:02.853 (95.81 mph) and Anthony Magagnoloi of Dexter, Mich., Rooster Hall Racing BMW M235iR at 2:02.927 (95.76 mph).
The old PWC TC mark at VIR was set back in 2010, the last appearance by Pirelli World Challenge at the popular Virginia racing facility with Chip Herr taking a Mazda 6 to a 2:05.650 (93.68 mph).
“The Cameron Racing guys did an awesome job with the No. 20 race car today,” said Liefgooghe. “We did quite a bit of testing over the winter and Steve is amazing running his operation. I have raced here many times in different series and the grip level of the racing surface is great. It actually my first time to qualify a car in a long time so I was wondering how I would do. Driving the BMW is fantastic. They assist us in whatever we need and this is very important for the team. It’s long race today (40 minutes) but it is good to start on the front row.
In the TCA class, Matthew Fassnacht of Madison, N.J. drove his No. 74 S.A.C Racing Mazda MX-5 to the pole with a 2:10.041 (90.52 mph) followed by Dean Copeland of Grasonville, Md., at 2:10.649 (90.10 mph) in the No. 07 Copeland Motorsports Mazda Global MX-5 Cup and Brian Henderson of Faimouth, Mass., in the No. 97 Copeland Motorsport Mazda Global MX-5 Cup at 2:10.733 (90.04 mph).
Jake Pipal of Oakdale, Calif., recorded a 2.25.459 (80.92 m.p.h.) in the No. 6 Carbotech Brakes Honda Fit to capture the pole position. Completing the top-three in TCB in Saturday’s qualifying at VIR were Canaan O’Connell of Chandler, Ariz., in the No. 24 Tech Sport Racing Chevrolet Sonic at 2:25.465 (80.92 m.p.h.) and P.J. Groenke of Richmond Hill, Ont., Canada in the No. 25 Tech Sport Racing Chevrolet Sonic at 2:25.533 (80.88 mph).
The Touring Car 40-minute main event on Saturday scheduled for 1:05 p.m. EDT at VIR, while Sunday’s feature begins at 2:40 p.m. EDT.