Ford Puts End To Porsche’s GTLM Pole Streak With Bourdais Last-Lap Flyer At Mid-Ohio
Saturday, May 4, 2019

Porsche’s impressive three-race qualifying streak in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) class came to an end Saturday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, but it certainly wasn’t for a lack of effort.

Sebastian Bourdais – subbing for Joey Hand in the No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT – alternated fast laps with the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR of Laurens Vanthoor throughout the session’s final two minutes, with Bourdais ultimately nipping Vanthoor by 0.275 of a second at the checkered flag.

Vanthoor held the top spot briefly with a lap of one minute, 19.399 seconds (102.378 mph) on his final lap, but was bested by Bourdais just seconds later with a lap of 1:19.124 (102.734 mph).

It was Bourdais’ second career WeatherTech Championship pole, with his first coming at Sebring in 2014 for Action Express Racing. He will lead the eight-car GTLM field to the green flag for Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge which takes the green flag at 1:30 p.m. ET and can be seen live on NBCSN.

“The guys did a really good job,” said Bourdais, who is subbing for Hand for the second consecutive race as Hand is focusing on recovery efforts from a recent bout with the flu to ensure he’s prepared for Le Mans. “It’s really tricky conditions. We really didn’t get good reads this morning, and it was wet again to start with but to begin the weekend out on top, I’m really proud of all the guys. Ford gave us a great car. I couldn’t be any happier.”

Porsche had previously won the pole for all three WeatherTech Championship races to-date this season, with Nick Tandy scoring the pole at Daytona and Long Beach and his No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR co-driver Patrick Pilet leading the way at Sebring.

It was a back-and-forth qualifying session, with the pole position swapping hands nine times over the final five minutes of the 15-minute session and five different drivers leading at one point. In fact, the four different manufacturers that make up the GTLM class took the top four spots on the grid with the No. 24 BMW Team RLL M8 of Jesse Krohn and the No. 4 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R of Tommy Milner making up the second row.

Ford is the only manufacturer with two cars in the top-five with Ryan Briscoe qualifying fifth in the No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT entry.

The Acura Sports Car Challenge gets underway on Sunday starting at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. IMSA Radio commentary will be available on and on SiriusXM Radio Channel 202 (Streaming 972). Fans are also encouraged to join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #IMSAatMO.