Action Express Tops Qualifying for TUSC Petit Le Mans
Christian Fittipaldi put the #5 Action Express Racing Coyote-Corvette on the pole for the Tudor United Sportscar Champion Petit Le Mans season finale after an incident-interrupted qualifying session which left two cars damaged.
Fittipaldi earned the pole with a record-setting lap of 1:14.508 at 122.725 mph, .289 seconds quicker than Ricky Taylor in the #10 WTR Dallara-Corvette and .412 seconds quicker than Richard Westbrook in the #90 Spirit of Daytona Coyote Corvette.
In GT Le Mans Nick Tandy also set a record, lapping Road Atlanta’s 12 turns in 1:18.350 at 116.707 mph in the #911 Porsche North America RSR. Giancarlo Fisichella put the #62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 458 second on the GTLM grid with a lap of 1:18.412, followed by Bryan Sellers in the #17 Falken Tire Porsche at 1:18.707.
RSR Racing scored the top two spots in PC: Jack Hawksworth in the #08 Oreca lapped the 2.54- mile track in 1:16.210, with teammate Bruno Junqueira right behind him with a 1:16.471. Tom Kimber-Smith in the #25 8Star Oreca was third, .128 behind Hawksworth.
GTD saw James Davison put the TRG-AMR #007 on the pole for the fourth race in a row with a lap of 1:22.254 at 111.168 mph, another track record. Jan Heylen in the #58 Snow Racing Porsche 911 America was second at 1:22.395, followed by Kevin Estre in the #73 Park Place Porsche 1:22.471.
Qualifying ran smoothly until the Prototype-class cars took the track for the final 15-minute session. Almost immediately the #42 Oak Racing Ligier-Honda driven by Alex Brundle pulled off the track exiting Turn 10b, his transmission refusing to shift.
After a short red flag, qualifying resumed, but not for long: Tristan Nunez in the #07 Mazda diesel slid off course at Turn Three, to be T-Boned moments later by Brian Frisselle in the #9 Action Express car, who came over the crest of the hill blind and also off course. Neither driver was injured, but both cars’ crews will be up late making repairs.
The 17th Petit Le Mans ten-hour endurance race takes the green flag at 11:15 a.m. EST on Saturday, Oct. 4.
The race will be streamed live in its entirety on IMSA.com. Television coverage starts at 3 p.m. on Fox Sports 2, running continuously through the podium ceremonies. A two-hour race recap will air Sunday morning at (possibly) 8 a.m. on Fox Sports 1 or your local Fox affiliate.
As always Live Timing and Scoring will stream on IMSA.com—an invaluable asset when trying to follow a long, multi-class race.