Road America Friday Notebook
Friday, August 3, 2018

Robichon Takes Pole for Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Race #1 at Road America

Canadian driver Zacharie Robichon, who just was added as the driver of the No. 19 Moorespeed Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in place of the sidelined Will Hardeman, proved a quick study in his first visit to Road America, putting the car on pole position for Saturday’s first race of the weekend at Road America.

Robichon – who currently leads the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Platinum Cup standings – turned in a pole-winning time of 2 minutes, 11.098 seconds (111.159 mph). As he does in Canada, Robichion is competing this weekend in the Platinum Cup class for Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars built in 2017 or 2018.

“You know how racing goes, everything happens really quickly,” Robichon said. “A few weeks had you said that I’d be here, I probably wouldn’t have believed you, so thanks to the guys at Moorespeed. It’s unfortunate circumstances that brought this up with Will having to focus on his family, but with the support of Continental Auto Group and Moorespeed, we’ve been able to come racing this weekend.

“This, for me, was just a thank you to the guys. They put together a fantastic car, right up to speed, I’ve never been at Road America and it’s an entirely new crew for me, of course. It’s a GT3 Cup car, but they’re all a bit different, so I had to get used to that yesterday. I’m really glad I could get that pole position for them.”

Alan Metni took the pole in Platinum Cup Masters for drivers over the age of 45, posting a best lap of 2:12.778 (109.752 mph). Victor Gomez IV took the pole in the Gold Cup class, for race cars built between 2014 and 2016, with a best lap of 2:14.277 (108.527 mph) in the No. 25 NGT Motorsport Porsche.

Saturday’s first 45-minute race of the doubleheader weekend for GT3 Cup Challenge USA starts at 11:30 a.m. local (Central) time and will be streamed live on IMSA.com.

Taylor Quickest in Friday Practice for Continental Tire Road Race Showcase in No. 10 Cadillac DPi

Jordan Taylor posted the quickest lap of practice from Friday’s pair of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship sessions in preparation for the two-hour, 40-minute Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America.

Taylor turned in a quickest lap of 1 minute, 52,627 seconds (129.389 mph) in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R he co-drives with Renger van der Zande. Taylor’s best time came in the afternoon practice session.

“I think it was good,” Taylor said. “It was a clear lap, so I kind of strung one together and we were quickest. The car is working well. We were good here last year, so we’ve got good reference to come back here with and try some things. The first practice wasn’t great, so we made some big changes between the two sessions and it seemed to work.

“I think it’s going to be a tough race, though. A lot of guys at the top. It’s making it more of a comfortable car. Since the track is so long, you can make a quick car, but I think it’s going to be more important for the race to have a consistent car over a stint. We still have some work to do, but I think we’re off on the right foot.”

In GT Le Mans (GTLM), points co-leader Dirk Mueller was fastest in the No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT he shares with Joey Hand with a lap of 2:03.716 (117.792 mph). Like Taylor, Mueller’s best time also came in the afternoon session.

In GT Daytona (GTD), Andy Lally led both of the day’s sessions in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 he shares with John Potter. Lally’s best lap of 2:06.816 (114.912 mph) came in the afternoon.

Plumb Places No. 76 McLaren at the Top of Friday’s Continental Tire Challenge Practice Charts

There’s something about Road America that suits the No. 76 Compass Racing McLaren GT4.

One year ago, the car started on pole for the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Road America 120. Fast forward to Friday, Matt Plumb put the car back on the top of the charts with the quickest overall time of two minutes, 19.432 seconds (104.515 mph) across the day’s two practice sessions.

“Today went according to plan, which is always what we hope for,” said Plumb, whose co-driver Paul Holton delivered the pole last year. “You go into every weekend thinking that you’re going to win and that plan doesn’t necessarily happen.

“We have more of a chance of winning here because this track has been a place that we were good at in the past. Last year, we were very good here and we’re good here, for a lack of any other term, but we have top speed. It’s one of the strong points of this car, it’s really one of the main advantages that we have.”

In similar fashion, it was another Compass Racing car atop the TCR practice charts as well. Pierre Kleinubing in the team’s No. 75 Audi RS3 LMS posted a best lap during the afternoon practice of 2:22.750 (102.085 mph). The lap narrowly beat Tom O’Gorman’s leading time from the morning session by a mere .189 seconds.

In the Street Tuner (ST) class, it was Mat Pombo picking up right where he and co-driver Mike LaMarra left off. After taking their second victory of the season at Lime Rock, Pombo led the ST class practice times at 2:31.572 (96.144 mph).

Saturday brings a brief practice session for the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge before qualifying at 11:40 a.m. ET (10:40 a.m. local time). The Road America 120 goes green later that afternoon at 5:05 p.m. ET and can be streamed live on IMSA.tv.

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