Thomas Secures Third Career Motul Pole Award in LMP2
April 30, 2022
By John Oreovicz
IMSA Wire Service
MONTEREY, Calif. – The Ricky Taylor Speed Show continued Saturday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
After comfortably pacing two practice sessions, Taylor smashed the track record for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in qualifying by nearly half a second in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05 DPi (Daytona Prototype international) to secure pole position for Sunday’s Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship Presented by Motul.
Taylor clocked two laps in the 1-minute, 13-second bracket, with his best effort of 1:13.924 (108.987 mph) claiming the Motul Pole Award. Oliver Jarvis completed a front row sweep for Acura, lapping at 1:14.013 in the No. 60 Meyer Shank with Curb-Agajanian ARX-05 DPi.
“Our car has been good since the start of practice and we tried not to mess it up,” said Taylor after clinching his 34th career pole in IMSA competition. “When you have a car that unloads that well, it’s very easy to get lost at a place like this because the track changes so much. So, we tried to not make too many changes. We placed a lot of emphasis on qualifying, so to get the pole is satisfying.”
Filipe Albuquerque set the previous lap record of 1:14.441 (108.230 mph) in the same WTR Acura in 2021, and Taylor said he assumed his teammate would again qualify and start the two-hour, 40-minute race again this year.
“They just told me I was doing it and I tried not to mess it up,” he said.
“Laguna Seca is a track that requires a lot of front grip in qualifying, then you need really good rear tire degradation for the race,” he added. “The Cadillacs have really found a lot of pace since last year, so I’m sure we’ll have our work cut out for us in the race. The competition has been creeping closer in every session, but as long as they don’t get any closer, we’ll be happy.”
Alex Lynn was the fastest Cadillac qualifier in the No. 01 Cadillac Racing DPi.V.R, recording a time of 1:14.072 to secure third on the starting grid.
Lynn and co-driver Earl Bamber head into Sunday’s racing with a seven-point lead in the WeatherTech Championship DPi point standings over No. 5 JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac co-drivers Tristan Vautier and Richard Westbrook. Vautier qualified fifth for Sunday’s race.
The Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship Presented by Motul will be broadcast live on NBC network at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday May 1.
Live streaming coverage is available on Peacock, NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports App and on IMSA.com (outside the U.S.).
Thomas Scores Third Career Pole in LMP2
In the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class, Steven Thomas posted the benchmark time of 1:17.571 in the No. 11 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 to secure the class Motul Pole Award.
His team kept him posted over the radio as other drivers took their best shots to unseat him from the top spot, with Patrick Kelly in PR1 Mathiasen’s similar No. 52 ORECA coming closest with a 1:17.628 in the closing moments of the 15-minute qualifying session.
“This feels pretty darn good,” said Thomas. “The car was moving all over the place. For a ‘gentleman driver’ to hang on to go fast, you’ve got to be willing to slide the car here. I think that was the key at the end of the day to going fast.
“I wasn’t expecting an easy time,” he continued. “My teammate, Jonathan Bomarito, has a lot more experience than me, and he really helped me. I think I was fastest in both practices, but it was a narrow margin. So, I thought it was going to be a total shootout, which is a lot of fun. I said, ‘Bring it on!’”