Bowmanville, Ont — Patrick Long, Michael Schein and Chris Green took poles in GT, GTA and GT Cup, respectively for, GT/GTA Round 8, and GT Cup Round 7 of the season at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, at the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Canada presented by Audi. The 40-minute session was held under clear, sunny 70-degree weather.
Qualifying was split into two groups.
With the green flag out on the first group, it was Andrew Palmer, in the No. 87 Bentley Team Absolute Bentley Continental GT, going to the top of the time sheets with a quick lap of 1:16.22 ahead of Austin Cindric, in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing Pfaff/McLaren Toronto McLaren 650S GT3, who posted a 1:16.372.
In GTA, Michael Schein, in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche GT3-R, set the early pace in class with a 1:16.828, later improving his time to 1:16.688.
In GT, Palmer drilled his time down to 1:15.750, while teammate Adderly Fong, in the No. 88 Bentley Team Absolute Bentley Continental GT3, followed suit to second fastest with a time of 1:15.957, narrowly ahead of Kyle Marcelli, in the No. 2, CRP Racing Audi R8, and JD Davison, in the No. 33 AE Replay XD Nissan GT Academy Nissan GTR GT3. Fong was fastest in official practice earlier in the day at CTMP, followed by his teammate Palmer.
Barber winner Alvaro Parente, in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing Pfaff/McLaren Toronto McLaren 650S, posted a time of 1:16.194 for fifth quick, ahead of teammate Cindric, as the session continued.
The Bentley teammates then found more speed, with Palmer clocking a 1:15.55 and Fong lowering his time to 1:15.774.
At the 10-minute mark of the first run group, Bryan Heitkotter, in the No. 05 AE Replay XD Nissan GT Academy Always Evolving/Replay XD/Nissan Nismo GT3 GT-R, vaulted to third and became the only other driver in the 1:15-range with a lap of 1:15.905 ahead of Marcelli and Davison.
In GT Cup, which saw all entrants qualify in the second group, Alec Udell, in the No. 17 GMG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, set the mark early with a quick lap of 1:21.166, and then bettering on his next lap to 1:20.169 ahead of Chris Green, in the No. 09 Pfaff Motorsports Castrol, Glasurit, KPMG Porsche GT3 Cup.
Green then went faster, knocking Udell off the pole with a better lap, 1:20.100 with that lap good enough for pole ahead of Udell and Sloan Urry, in the No. 22 TruSpeed Autosport Security National Mortgage/Avasis Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in third.
In GTA, Martin Fuentes, driving the No. 07 Scuderia Corsa Hublot Underarmour Ferrari 458 Italia, went to second in class with a lap of 1:17.012, taking part in the second grouping of cars. In GTA, Schein held onto the pole and Fuentes will start second.
The focus then turned to GT, as Patrick Long set a quick time of 1:15.582, in the No. 59 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, to split the Bentleys, going to second late in the session, just .027 seconds off pole.
Long then went quicker, taking over fast lap with a time of 1:15.481 to take the overall pole.
At the same time, Ryan Eversley, in the No. 43 RealTime Racing Acura/HPD/Red Line Oil/RealTime Acura TLX-GT, jumped to sixth with a time of 1:16.027 and then went to third with a lap of 1:15.682.
The GT order will see Long lead the field to the green flag alongside Palmer. Eversley and Fong will line up in row two ahead of Heitkotter, Marcelli, Davison and Parente.
Of note, GT Championship points leader Johnny O’Connell, in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing ATS-V.R, qualified 12th. The top 12 cars in GT were separated by just over one second.
“This just adds to a wild month of ups and downs,” said Long. “It’s a great shot in the arm for the Wright Motorsports Group. This just gets us closer and sooner. We can continue to move forward. Mike Schein and I work really well together. It’s extra special that he is the pole winner in the GTA category. That element of team is very much alive and well. I grateful to still be in the series and let alone with a second pole of the season. Ironically, John (Wright) and I go back to the 2011 Pirelli World Challenge season. He was heading up the technical department at that team (TruSpeed). I knew John back in Daytona in 2009 when I won and his team finished second or third. His history goes back to the Larry Schumacher days in Porsche. He ran a Daytona program in 2011 for Flying Lizard. I was also a coach in his Porsche GT3 Cup program has helped our relationship. I knew how gifted of a group that John has on his team. It’s another small team but they put a lot of attention into the details. This month has been a roller coaster of emotion. It’s motorsport. There are highs and lows. Similar to the opening weekend at COTA. My job remains the same. I might for five or six different Porsche teams in a season. When things get tough, you know who your allies are in the paddock. I was in the second qualifying group because my transponder didn’t work this morning. I was on a good lap and came up on some traffic. I took a breath and went for it again and got P2. But I knew there was a little bit left in the car and refocused and went for another good one. It’s how I like to run in qualifying but it hasn’t been going that way for me lately in qualifying. And that’s some icing for qualifying. But the race is Saturday and Sunday. We have to get ready for those events now.”
“This is a great results for Pat (Long), myself and the team today,” said Schein. “It’s a lot of fun at this place when you get right for qualifying. It’s flows really nicely for you. I was lucky enough to be in the quicker qualifying group today. It’s easier to space yourself there. Everyone respects each other and they know you need to build a gap. There was no traffic at yet and that was nice. I didn’t have my optima lap but I’m happy to win the pole. The start for the race is a key. If can get to the front, I think I can keep it there through the race.”
“Obviously, this is our first adventure in the Pirelli World Challenge and GT3 Cup,” said Green. “Our team did a great job putting the Pfaff Motorsports Castrol Porsche on the pole. This is my home track so to speak. I know my way about this place. The Pirelli tires have been fantastic since day one. There is a lot of still left in me here. I made some mistakes today. I need to understand the faster cars coming up on me. I definitely have to keep my eyes up in the mirror to watch all of the cars coming. I’m not going to impede on the race or the championship. I just want to win the race on Saturday. I have raced in the Canadian Porsche Cup here several times, so I do know the track well. It’s fun to run in the series this weekend.”
GT/GTA and GT Cup drivers next take to the track for their first race of the weekend scheduled for Saturday at 1:15 p.m. Eastern. Watch the race live at motortrendondemand.com and follow live timing and scoring world-challenge.com.