Photo: Courtesy of IMSA

Acura Lock Out IMSA Road America Front Row, Corvette, Mercedes Garner GT Pole Positions

By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer

ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin — Dane Cameron being fastest in qualifying was no surprise to anyone at Road America.

The No. 6 ARX-05 DPi was quickest in all three practice sessions and set a new track record in qualifying for Sunday’s IMSA Road Race Showcase.

The points leader in the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings went around the 4.048 mile road course with a fastest lap of 1 minute, 48.715 seconds, a full 3.2 seconds faster than last year’s Prototype qualifying pole time. Cameron averaged 134.045 mph in the No. 6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 DPi.

“The weather worked with us and it worked out okay,” said Cameron. “The track was a little bit damp in a couple of places so a little bit hard to know how hard it was going to be. Here, you really get two laps where the tires are at their peak in normal conditions so it was kind of about trying to make that count so I was really happy with the laps that I did.”

Cameron shares the front row with teammate Helio Castroneves in the No. 7 Acura. The pair will start ahead of the Mazda Team Joest entries.

Moving down to GTLM, Tom Blomqvist won pole position for the No. 25 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing BMW M8 GTE on the track, but was dropped to last in class after failing a ride height check in post qualifying technical inspection. Oliver Gavin in the No. 4 Corvette Racing C7.R was promoted to pole position with a fastest lap of 2 minutes, 0.663 seconds to average 120.772 mph.

In GTD, the No. 33 Riley Motorsports AMG Mercedes GT3 of Ben Keating scored Keating’s first pole position in IMSA competition. The Mercedes was fastest in two of the three practice sessions and set pole position with a fastest lap of 2 minutes, 5.250 seconds.

“I was in the United SportsCar Championship in the Viper and now three years in the AMG,” said Keating. “Six years of racing full seasons is a long time to finally make the top step in pole position. I really feel like the Riley (Motorsports) team has come together very well and I have improved as well as the year has gone on. We haven’t had a podium yet this season but everything feels right, everything feels like it’s coming to the right direction.”

The IMSA Road Race Showcase starts Sunday at 1:35 p.m. CT.

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A 2012 graduate of LSU, Christopher DeHarde primarily focuses on the NTT IndyCar Series and the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. DeHarde has actively covered motorsports since 2014.