“The car was fantastic - but it has been fantastic since the first day,” Diaz said, “It's a very special weekend for the whole team. We expected to be competitive because the Acura was very competitive here last year and, with a few adjustments and the great Michelin tyres, the car was fantastic. I knew Gil was a talented driver, so it was nice to be up there for a while, even if it was for a moment.”
Diaz was 0.741secs quicker than Dyson Racing's Butch Leitzinger, who took fourth overall in the Mazda-powered Lola B09/86 coupe he shares with Marino Franchitti, while Klaus Graf qualified Team Cytosport's Porsche RS Spyder third on the P2 grid.
Corvette Racing's Jan Magnussen won his third consecutive pole position at Mazda Raceway, but his first in GT2. The flying Dane posted a lap of 1min 23.053secs in the Corvette C6.R that he is driving with Johnny O'Connell. The pole was the first for the GT2 version of the Corvette, which made its race debut in August at Mid-Ohio, while Magnussen and O'Connell drove the car to a victory at Mosport in just its third race.
“It's my favourite race track, and I always do well here,” Magnussen said of Mazda Raceway, “Unfortunately, I've only turned one of those poles into a win so, hopefully, we can change that. The car has been fantastic in practice, but I didn't expect to be fighting for pole. Everything worked really well. I kept going faster and faster. The Michelins came in really fast, and I think I only had one lap to back off because traffic was slower."
Pierre Kaffer took second in GT2 for Risi Competizione, two weeks after victory at Road Atlanta in the Petit Le Mans. He will drive with Jaime Melo with the Risi squad gunning for its third class win at the Laguna Seca circuit in four years. The pairing also is still alive in the GT2 championship, needing at least a runner-up finish to have a chance at overtaking the Flying Lizard duo of Patrick Long and Jörg Bergmeister in their Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
Bergmeister qualified fifth Friday, while Oliver Gavin was third in class in the second Corvette entry.
ORBIT Racing's Guy Cosmo won his fourth consecutive pole in the first-year Challenge class, posting a lap of 1min 29.546secs in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car that he will drive with John Baker.
“Qualifying was pretty tame and calm the first few laps,” Cosmo reported, “You figure that those are the ones where our tyres will be at their best, but that's also the time when the GT2 guys are trying to get their laps. The race will be pretty exciting. The speed difference around here isn't all the great, so that makes it even busier.”
Cosmo outpaced Galen Bieker in the P7 Racing that he will share with Robert Rodriquez, while Bob Faieta was a further 0.043secs back in the Gruppe Orange Porsche that he will drive with Wesley Hoaglund.