Ward Hangs on for GTD Pole in No. 57 Mercedes
April 30, 2022
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
MONTEREY, Calif. – Mathieu Jaminet waited to get on track, then saved his best lap for the end of Saturday’s 15-minute qualifying session at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Jaminet claimed the Motul Pole Award in GTD PRO for the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship Presented by Motul with a late lap of 1 minute, 23.142 seconds around the 11-turn, 2.238-mile circuit.
His effort put the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R he’ll co-drive with Matt Campbell in the number one starting position in GTD PRO for the start of Sunday’s two-hour, 40-minute race.
Waiting to leave the pits at the start of the qualifying session helped Jaminet find space on the track and save his tires for the late lap.
“I don’t know if waiting was the secret, but I definitely had a very good lap,” Jaminet said. “I think I did my best lap of the weekend at the right time. The team did amazing, a really fantastic job. I’m really pleased with that.”
Winning the pole made up for an unfortunate incident on April 10 at Long Beach that dropped the No. 9 Porsche out of the GTD PRO points lead. After battling near the front of the field during the first stint of that race, the car was forced to retire when an errant wheel nut from the No. 3 Corvette improbably flew through the air and punctured the car’s radiator while the car was undergoing service on pit lane.
Jaminet’s lap topped the best lap by Daniel Juncadella by just 0.022 seconds. The No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 that Juncadella co-drives with Cooper MacNeil was clocked at 1:23.164.
The No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 co-driven by Alex Riberas and Ross Gunn will start third in the six-car GTD PRO field after Riberas’ lap of 1:23.368.
Ward hangs on for top spot in GTD in No. 57 Mercedes
Russell Ward saved his best for the very end to claim the Motul Pole Award in GTD.
Ward wheeled the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 around the circuit in 1:23.567, giving him and teammate Philip Ellis the top starting position in class for Sunday’s race.
“I had to keep the excitement going,” Ward joked as he celebrated afterward. “It was amazing. The guys gave us such a fast car. It’s our first time here with the GT3 car. We’ve got some really smart and talented guys, and they know how to set these things up and make them fast. Hats off to them. They did a perfect job.”
Jaden Conwright’s final lap of 1:23.777 moved him into the No. 2 starting position in the No. 42 NTE/SSR Lamborghini Huracán GT3. Conwright, the inaugural IMSA Diverse Driver Development scholarship recipient, is sharing the ride with Marco Holzer this weekend.
Robby Foley will start third in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 he’ll co-drive with Bill Auberlen after a lap of 1:23.821.
NBC’s live broadcast of Sunday’s race begins at 3 p.m. ET.