Austin, Texas — Nick Wittmer, Joey Bickers and Will Rodgers scored pole positions in the TC, TCA and TCB classes, respectively, for this afternoon’s Round 1 race of the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge season in the Nissan Grand Prix of Texas brought to you by VP Racing Fuels at the Circuit of the Americas.
Setting the pace early was Jason Fichter, in the No. 7 Shea Racing Honda Accord V-6 Coupe, with a quick time of 2:28.598 in TC.
Vesko Kozarov, driving the No. 3 CA Sport Nissan/Nismo/Stance Nissan 370Z, then went fastest with a lap of 2:27.795 to take the top spot in TC at the 12-minute mark of the session.
On his fifth lap and at the 17-minute point, Toby Grahovec, in the No. 26 BMW M235iR for Classic BMW Motorsports, went fastest as he did in the morning practice session. This time it was a lap of 2:27.787, up more than two seconds from his practice pace.
Times continued to drop at the half-way mark in the session in TC as Nick Wittmer, in the No. 91 Honda Ste-Rose Racing Honda Accord V-6 Coupe, went fastest with a lap of 2:27.721. At that point in the session, less than one tenth of a second separated the top three drivers. It is Wittmer’s third career Pirelli World Challenge pole.
In TCA, Drake Kemper, driving the No. 21 Tech Sport Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup, led the way to an early provisional pole with a lap of 2:35.866.
Elivan Goulart, in the No. 70, S.A.C. Racing/SCDA1.com Mazda MX-5 Cup., then went fastest a third of the way through the session, going to the top of the TCA time sheets with a time of 2:35.040.
Jumping to position one in TCA was then Eric Powell, in the No. 23 Tech Sport Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup, with a lap of 2:34.795. Powell then surrendered the top spot as Joey Bickers, in the No. 49 Atlanta Motorsports Group Mazda MX-5 Cup, went faster with a time of 2:34.733.
Powell then lowered his time again to take back the top spot in TCA with a 2:34.597 and Bickers quickly responded with a 2:34.347 to take his first career Pirelli World Challenge pole.
TCB’s Will Rodgers in the No. 65 Hale Motorsports Solvang Brewing Co/Kelly Benefit Strategies/Foundation Fighting Blindness Mazda 2, set the fastest qualifying time in TCB early, with a lap around COTA clocking in at 2:51.626, also securing his first ever Pirelli World Challenge pole.
Henry Morse, in the No. 14 Hale Motorsports MorseGPS powered by CalAmp/MazdaSpeed/FreeM USA/Corksport Performance/Rolling Hills Prep Mazda 2, will line up second on the TCB grid after a quick qualifying lap of 2:51.914.
Results are provisional until posted final. TC drivers next hit the track at 4:30 p.m. Central time for their first race of the weekend from COTA. Watch the live stream of the race at motortrendondemand.com, with live timing and video available at www.world-challenge.com.