DARIO FRANCHITTI has the overall pole position and also first in P2 class, with a lap of 1m 11.838s. Although Franchitti has one victory, this is his first ALMS pole.

He caught the pole on his last flyer lap, but admitted the pole wasn't due to any strategy. He spent most of the session finding the limit of the car. Franchitti said he would have liked more track time. Saturday's race is only one hour 45 minutes, rather than the usual two hours 45 minutes.

Qualifying weather was warm, in the eighties, with track temperatures gauged at 98 degrees F.

Franchitti has always liked the Long Beach track, dating back to his CART days. He's glad to be back on a street course. In IRL, he only ran ovals and the series has limited testing. He has more time in the ALMS car.

All ALMS qualifying times are records as this is the first time ALMS has run LBGP. All four pole winners were on Michelin tyres.

RINALDO CAPELLO has the P1 pole, from fourth on the grid, with a lap of 1m 12.713s. This is his ninth pole position. The Audi team has won the last ten races. He might have been the only driver to swap seats in qualifying, setting the time and then allowing his team-mate, ALLAN McNISH, to finish the session. Perhaps they were practicing for driver changes in Saturday's race. Capello said it would be challenging for driver changes in such a short race, and thinks the street courses in St Pete and Long Beach are different - different corners and different grip.

OLIVER GAVIN has the GT1 pole, his twelfth in ALMS and first this year. His time was 1m 18.145s, while MIKA SALO is on the GT2 pole at 1m 20.916s - his second in ALMS. He's expecting tough competition from the Porsches. So far, except for Sebring, the races have been sprint races. Salo said it's a hard mindset. The team might use a softer tyre.

Several drivers were fastest overall before the chequered flag: Penske Racing Porsche RS Spyder P2 team-mates RYAN BRISCOE and TIMO BERNHARD, and McNish.

Twenty-five of the 26 teams qualified. JAMIE BACH, who co-drives with BEN DEVLIN in the #8 Lola-Mazda P2 stopped in turn seven on his first lap, causing a red flag. They will start last in Saturday's race.

KLAUS GRAF hit the turn six wall, damaging the rear wing and left side of the new Cytosport entry. He qualified 24th, last in P1 class.

Salo and Gavin agree that the last corner is the most difficult - one loses a lot of time there. Franchitti thinks the turn by the hotel is hardest for him. Capello finds the roundabout and the last corner the most difficult.

Capello was impressed with the full grandstands for a Friday. He said there are lots of viewing opportunities for the fans. The race is a way to show the people just how fast are the ALMS cars.

Earlier in the day, Capello said the Audi computers predicted the Audi LMP 10 could turn a 1m 12s lap around the 1.97-mile, eleven-turn street course. Capello's time was only off by 0.713secs.



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