Audi Sport North America's Dindo Capello made Mosport International Raceway the fastest circuit in the American Le Mans Series with a stunning lap of 1min 04.094secs in qualifying for the Mobil 1 Grand Prix.
The Italian veteran smashed his own previous track record by 1.735secs, but was one of ten cars to go under last year's pole time as Audi swept the front row with its two diesel-powered Audi R10 TDIs. Team-mate Marco Werner was just 0.094secs behind as the German marque asserted itself for the first time on the weekend.
"It looks like I have a special feeling with this race track," said Capello, who has won three times in five career Mosport starts and now has three pole positions at the Canadian venue, "Canada always seem to bring me good luck. When Audi wanted to bring me back and said I could race again at Mosport, I was very happy. It was nice to be back and show that we are still quite good."
The top five cars qualified within 0.525secs of each other, with Penske Racing's Romain Dumas third overall, and first in LMP2, at 1min 04.318secs, also a class record.
The previous fastest speed recorded in series history came two weeks ago when Audi's Lucas Luhr averaged 136.277mph in qualifying at Road America. On Saturday, however, the top five drivers at Mosport recorded average speeds quicker than that - although not all felt that it was a good thing.
"You really feel like you are on the edge here," Capello said, "It is very difficult to say to a driver and engineer that a car should be slower. A 1min 04secs means we aren't just fast on the straight, but also in the corners. If something were to happen, it can be very big. At some tracks, safety hasn't changed over the years, but the cars have. But I am not talking about Mosport. In Europe, we really miss this kind of elevation change and the fast corners. We drivers are crazy, but not too crazy that we don't think about safety."
Penske team-mates Dumas and Timo Bernhard are the defending race winners at Mosport, and the Frenchman looked like he had the overall pole wrapped up late in the session before Capello and Werner threw down their laps. However, Dumas maintained that the first order of business was to take the class pole as doing so would put himself and Bernhard in the best position to extend their P2 championship advantage over Patrón Highcroft Racing's David Brabham and Scott Sharp.
"It was a great qualifying session, for sure," said Dumas, who won his 16th series pole, "It's very, very, very quick year after year - I improved nearly 1.7secs and we push the limit all the time. Again, the class is important and I'm very happy that we are at the head of P2."
Dumas was 0.285secs better than Brabham's Acura ARX-01b. The Porsche duo have a 24-point lead over Brabham and Sharp with four rounds remaining, and have four wins compared to the three of their rivals.