Lucas Luhr snared his fourth Road America pole position to put Audi at the head of the field in qualifying for the latest round of the American Le Mans Series, the Generac 500 at Road America.
The German posted a lap of 1min 46.935secs during the session to take pole by 0.41secs from Andretti Green Racing's Franck Montagny and will now hope to follow it up with a victory – having failed to secure victory from pole position on the previous three occasions he has started on top at the circuit.
"I should have backed off a bit," Luhr said. "I'll make sure Nishy [Allan McNish] gets a note that I broke his record. I think this is one of the best race tracks in America and I really like it. It's just good fun to come here.
"The course is good for our car. I was surprised Montagny was only four tenths behind me. You can see that Acura is getting quicker and quicker, and we've been saying that we've been a bit behind in qualifying and still been able to win overall. The strategy is in our favour being a longer race, but you never know with the yellows and the things going on around the race track. If a yellow comes out, you have to be prepared to change your mind completely and react and adapt to it. Our plan is to go as fast as you can and then react to it."
Saturday's four-hour race will see Luhr and team-mate Marco Werner go for their fourth overall victory of the season and sixth straight win in P1. They comfortably lead the class championship by 58 points over Audi team-mate Emanuele Pirro, who qualified third overall and second in LMP1 at 1min 47.579secs. Werner will drive with newcomer Marcel Fassler in the second R10 TDI. Intersport Racing's Jon Field qualified the AER-powered Lola B06/10-AER third in class and eighth overall at 1min 48.371secs
In LMP2, Acura swept the front row for the third straight race as Montagny won his first ALMS pole position. The Frenchman will make his third start with his third different team-mate - James Rossiter - in the AGR Acura ARX-01b. Montagny's time of 1min 47.345secs bettered Romain Dumas' class record from last year by 1.488 seconds and McNish's 2007 lap, as well.
"All the people who have been in the car are good drivers and they might not be going for the championship this year, but they are good," he said. "The car is still being developed and we are now seeing the result of that. We have a good engineering crew and experience that helps me out."
Former Road America Champ Car standout Adrian Fernandez qualified second in class and fourth overall in the Acura that he will drive with Luis Diaz. Dumas was fifth overall and third in P2 at 1min 47.736secs in the Porsche RS Spyder that he will share with Timo Bernhard. The pairing are the defending overall race winners.
"Tomorrow will be another great race,” he said. “From now to the last race, I'm trying to work with the engineers and get used to the car. We are always improving the car, race after race and test after test. The race here is the most fun I've had. I've done a lot of racing in Europe, and some GT cars and prototypes. It's good to go somewhere and be good right off from the start."