Gil de Ferran is on the pole at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course - again - after the former Indianapolis 500 winner emerged as fastest qualifier for the second straight year for the Acura Sports Car Challenge in the de Ferran Motorsports entry.

de Ferran turned a fastest lap of 1min 09.443secs in the XM Acura ARX-02a that he has driven to victory the last three races with team-mate Simon Pagenaud. The Brazilian was a slim 0.069 seconds and less than 0.1 mph faster than David Brabham in Patr?n Highcroft Racing's Acura.

de Ferran and Pagenaud trail Brabham and Scott Sharp by just 13 points in the P1 championship.

It was a dramatic session for the two-time CART champion and 2003 Indy 500 winner. He didn't record his first flying lap until halfway through the 20-minute session.

"We had a big vibration and my radio was not working - I was concerned that we had a wheel loose," de Ferran said. "So we took the wheels off but we couldn't change the tires in qualifying. It was very hard to see what was wrong but went back out there."

It was a good thing. de Ferran topped Brabham on his fourth lap for his first pole position of the season. Now the focus shifts to turning that into his first victory at the circuit in any series. He was second in CART twice and was leading last year before a mid-race retirement.

"Mid-Ohio has been such a big part of my career," said de Ferran, who also announced he will retire as a driver at season's end. "It is a track that I enjoy tremendously. It is extremely challenging. The grip conditions this weekend is very poor. The track is very, very low on grip but it is changing rapidly as we keep running. It is going to be pedal-to-the-metal this weekend."

Luis Diaz earned his third pole position of the season in LMP2 as the Lowe's Fernandez Racing Acura ARX-01b stayed perfect in qualifying this season. Diaz was third overall at 1min 10.464secs in the car that he will share with Adrian Fernandez.

The duo have won four of five class races this year, having lost out to Dyson Racing three weeks ago at Lime Rock Park.

"I'm very happy to be here and get the pole for Acura," Diaz said. "It is a very special race for the whole company. We worked very hard after our last race at Lime Rock. We were expecting a close race with the Dyson team and that was the way it was. It was good to put some good laps together. We are expecting a tough race tomorrow but hope to be there in the end and earn some points."

Diaz had to chase down and pass Chris Dyson in one of Dyson Racing's Mazda-powered Lola B09/86 coupes about midway through the session. The two teams have gone back and forth the last four rounds. This week saw the addition of Team Cytosport's Porsche RS Spyder, where Klaus Graf qualified fourth in class. He was just a tick behind Dyson Racing's second prototype of Butch Leitzinger, who won at Lime Rock with Marino Franchitti.

"After the last race, we worked hard to fix the problem," Diaz said. "That is what is good about Acura. We are working hard to fix the problems and improve. Everyone did a great job; we had to push very hard to get the pole. I am very happy."

Flying Lizard Motorsports' J?rg Bergmeister captured his second GT2 pole position of the season with a lap of 1min 21.022secs. The German factory Porsche driver is on pole at Mid-Ohio for the first time and is seeking his fifth straight victory of the season with team-mate Patrick Long.

"We made a change right before qualifying and were fighting understeer on new tires," the three-time GT2 champion said. "We found a setup that helped on the front end. The biggest challenge will be to anticipate what the track will be like after the IndyCars put rubber down, but we still have the warmup to do and time to work on the car."

Bergmeister was 0.265 seconds ahead of Jaime Melo in Risi Competizione's Ferrari F430 GT. Melo and team-mate Pierre Kaffer are second to the Flying Lizard duo in the class championship standing but have won at Sebring and Le Mans this season.

Jan Magnussen qualified third in class for Corvette Racing, debuting its new GT2 Corvette C6.R this weekend.

"They might be sandbagging. We'll see what they do in the race," Bergmeister said. "It's been impressive so far seeing them close to the top. We have to stay out of the fight with those guys and stay ahead. We've had some luck the last couple of races. Tomorrow is when it counts. We have to do what we have been doing to give ourselves the best chance."

Guy Cosmo earned his first pole position in the Challenge class with a lap of 1min 27.070secs in the ORBIT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Cosmo was 0.133 seconds faster than Shane Lewis in the Velox Motorsport Porsche, making its first start in the Series.

A former LMP2 winner at Mid-Ohio in 2005, Cosmo is driving with John Baker for the third straight race.

"It was a lot of fun; it always is at Mid-Ohio," said Cosmo, who won with a Mazda-powered Courage four years ago. "We had no issues with the car. We didn't make qualifying at Lime Rock as the starter wasn't working. I was relieved when it fired up here and it was really good all session."

Bill Sweedler qualified ORBIT's second Porsche entry third in the class with a lap of 1min 28.247secs. He is driving with Ed Brown.


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