Simon Pagenaud captured pole position for de Ferran Motorsports with a new track record at the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix, a year after the team's debut in the American Le Mans Series.
Pagenaud qualified his Acura ARX-02a with a time of 1min 30.645secs to best David Brabham by 0.736secs. Pagenaud earned his second Series pole position after qualifying first at St. Petersburg and track record bested Timo Bernhard's qualifying lap from last year by 0.405secs and Marco Werner's P1 record by 0.945secs.
“This place especially really suits my driving style really well,” said Pagenaud, who set the fastest lap of the race last year. “The philosophy we use to set-up the car at de Ferran Motorsports really suits this track well. The Acura is really behaving well because the aero was reworked. I'm really pleased that the engineers pushed me because it really paid off. The car is behaving fantastically on the track. It is amazing how fast we are really going. The front tyres are a big advantage because we can brake late and never lock the front tyres. So it can really give us something extra.
Of course we want to do well. We need to win as many races as we can to win the championship. So every time we go out we do our best. It's never easy to win. There could be two cars on track or 30 cars on track; there will always be someone faster than you.”
The Corsa Motorsports Ginetta-Zytek 09HS prototype of Johnny Mowlem and Stefan Johansson qualified third in P1 and sixth overall. The revolutionary hybrid prototype is making its debut in the Series with Mowlem qualifying the car in 1min 34.957secs. The car did not implement its hybrid mode during qualifying, however.
Luis Diaz gave Lowe's Fernandez Racing its fourth straight LMP2 pole in the Acura ARX-01b that he shares with Adrian Fernandez. Diaz's time of 1min 32.749secs was 0.764secs better than Dyson Racing's Butch Leitzinger in the Mazda-powered Lola B09/86 coupe that he will drive with Marino Franchitti.
“The team made good changes for qualifying; we did a great job with those and did a good lap,” said Diaz, who like Pagenaud won his first pole at St. Petersburg. “We have the right tyre compound with the Michelins for tomorrow. So we are really looking good for the race.”
Jörg Bergmeister won the GT2 pole position in the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR that he will share with Patrick Long. The German Porsche factory driver set a class record with a lap of 1min 47.210secs. His lap was 0.145secs better than Risi Competizione's Jamie Melo in the Ferrari F430 GT.
Bergmeister benefitted from a two-day test session the team held at the circuit after Long Beach. It went so well that he did only two qualifying laps, which turned out to be enough.