Mazda Prototype Captures Third TOTAL Pole Award Of 2016, Bomarito Leads Qualifying For Continental Tire Road Race Showcase
Saturday, August 6, 2016

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (August 6, 2016) – Jonathan Bomarito left no doubt as to the strength of the No. 55 Mazda Motorsports Castrol/ModSpace Mazda Prototype in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship TOTAL Pole Award qualifying for Sunday’s Continental Road Race Showcase at Road America (live, FS1, 4 p.m. ET).

Qualifying for the first time this season, Bomarito toured the historic 14-turn, 4.048-mile circuit in a track-record 1:54.507 (127.2 mph), covering the Prototype class field by a whopping 1.152 seconds. It was the class-leading third pole of the year for Mazda Motorsports, with co-driver Tristan Nunez leading qualifying at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

“The car was really, really good today, and I drove extremely hard,” said Bomarito, with the team seeking its first Prototype class victory. “The guys really nailed the setup. Hats off to [engineers] Marcus [Shen] and Zach [LaGrone], and all the guys at SpeedSource. This is an incredible race car, and I love Road America. They never let me qualify, so I had to turn it loose! Tomorrow we just have to keep our heads down. I’m confident we can put the whole race together, and Tristan will take it home for us.”

Christian Fittipaldi qualified second in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette Daytona Prototype with a lap of 1:55.659 (125.9 mph). He and Action Express Racing co-driver Joao Barbosa enter the event with a four-point lead atop the Prototype standings in quest of their third consecutive championship.

Ricky Taylor will start third in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP co-driven by his brother Jordan, setting a best lap of 1:55.685 (125.9 mph). He will be joined on the second row by Tom Long, who ran 1:56.021 (125.6 mph) in the No. 70 Castrol/ModSpace Mazda Prototype co-driven by Joel Miller.

Defending Road America winners Dane Cameron and Eric Curran will start fifth in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP, with Cameron running a lap of 1:56.120 (125.4 mph). They currently have 216 points, to 220 for Fittipaldi and Barbosa. The Taylor brothers enter the event third in the standings with 211 points.

Sheboygan’s James French Takes First Pole Of Season For Performance Tech Motorsports

Racing close to his home in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, James French used his lifelong knowledge of Road America to capture the first TOTAL Pole Award of the season in the Prototype Challenge (PC) class for Performance Tech Motorsports.

French posted a best lap of 1:59.133 (122.3 mph) in the No. 38 Ric-Man Construction/Children’s Miracle Network/NeuroSpine Institute/Fer-Pal Infrastructure ORECA FLM09 co-driven by Kyle Marcelli. It was his fourth career WeatherTech Championship pole, but first since Road America in 2015.

“It’s been a year since we’ve had our last pole, so it’s been awhile,” French said. “It’s pretty special to be back at our home track and get the pole here. I have a lot of family here this weekend, and also a lot of friends drove a long way to be here. It’s really special to have them here to cheer me on. PC has a great group of drivers and really close qualifying sessions, so to come out in front is really nice.”

Two-time 2016 winner Misha Goikhberg qualified third but will start second after the No. 7 entry received a penalty. Goikhberg ran a lap of 1:59.462 (121.9 mph) in the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Hi-Tide Boat Lifts/Red Line Oil ORECA co-driven by Stephen Simpson. Starting third will be the No. 20 BAR1 Motorsports ORECA of Matt McMurry and Bruno Junqueira after McMurry set a 1:59.519 (121.9 mph).

PC points leaders Alex Popow and Renger van der Zande will roll off sixth after Popow turned a lap of 1:59.634 (121.8 mph) in the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport entry. The pair has won three of the last four races and hold a 17-point lead (267-250) lead over Robert Alon and Tom Kimber-Smith, who start fifth in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA.

View full results via Al Kamel Systems at Results.IMSA.com

NOTEBOOK

  • Both Prototype classes broke the respective track records. Bomarito beat Ryan Dalziel’s 2014 mark of 1:55.166 in a Honda-HPD ARX-03b. French eclipsed Bruno Junqueira’s record of 1:59.411, also set in 2014.
  • Jose Gutierrez came up 0.075 seconds shy of the pole after a lap of 1:59.208 (122.2 mph) in the No. 7 Starworks Motorsport ORECA co-driven by Gustavo Yacaman, but the team received a penalty revealed in post-qualifying tech for being under minimum base weight, and will start from the back of the category.
  • The Prototype session was red-flagged with seven minutes remaining when John Pew went off into a gravel trap in Turn 3 in the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Honda Ligier JS P2. That car was fastest in Friday’s WeatherTech Championship practice, driven by Ozz Negri.
  • It was Bomarito’s first Prototype pole and second in WeatherTech Championship competition. He won the GT Le Mans pole at Circuit of The Americas in 2014 in an SRT Motorsports Dodge Viper.

Sunday’s on-track activities open with a 20-minute warm-up at 9:40 a.m. CT.

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