Guy Smith gave Mazda power its first overall pole position on its home track after leading the way at Laguna Seca.
Dyson Racing's popular Brit set a fast lap of 1min 12.338secs to outpace Muscle Milk Team CytoSport's Klaus Graf by 1.517 seconds for his first career pole position in the American Le Mans Series.
It also is the first pole position for isobutanol, which is powering the Lola-Mazda coupe that Smith will drive in Saturday's six-hour race with Chris Dyson and Andy Meyrick. Smith was quickest in Friday's two practice sessions as the Dyson squad captured its first overall pole position since Butch Leitzinger at Portland in 2006. This also marked the first overall pole position for Dunlop in the Series.
“At the beginning of the session, I wanted to put my time in on the fourth or fifth lap,” Smith said. “On the fourth lap, I was in a bunch of traffic and it was all a bit fraught. I got to the Corkscrew and took a breath. Then I tried to get my head down and go. The team said that we were 1.3 seconds behind in P2 and I thought, 'That's going to be a lot to overcome.' So I composed myself, and put down a whole lap. It was great when they told me I was P1.”
Three manufacturers filled the top three spots in LMP qualifying. After Graf – who will drive Muscle Milk's Porsche RS Spyder with Sascha Maassen and Memo Gidley – was Intersport Racing's Clint Field with a 1min 15.208secs.
He will drive Intersport's Lola B06/10-AER with father Jon and Nikolas Konstant.
Jaime Melo took pole in GT for Risi Competizione and Ferrari, just as he did at Mazda Raceway in 2007. His best lap of 1min 22.752secs in the Ferrari F430 GT that he will drive with Gianmaria Bruni was 0.315 seconds quicker than Johannes van Overbeek in the first of Extreme Speed Motorsports' Ferraris.
“I didn't expect to be that fast, to be honest,” Melo said. “We were struggling with under steer in the practices and we tried many things and got it right just at the end. We have always been close to pole here, but only managed to get it once before so it feels good to get it today.”
Corvettes swept the second row in class, with the top eight within 0.732 seconds, another tight battle in the Series' toughest class.
Johnny Mowlem won his first American Le Mans Series pole with the fastest lap in LMPC Challenge. He drove PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports' ORECA FLM09 to a lap of 1min 17.800ecs (103.558 mph) and a scant 0.171-second advantage over Gunnar Jeannette in G-Oil's Green Earth Team Gunnar entry.
Black Swan Racing captured its first Series pole position thanks to Jeroen Bleekemolen's lap of 1min 26.934secs. He beat Alex Job Racing's Butch Leitzinger by 0.669 seconds.