Acura storms to IMSA Long Beach pole

Filipe Albuquerque put daylight between his Acrua and the rest of the field in qualifying at Long Beach.

Filipe Albuquerque has led an Acura one-two in IMSA qualifying at Long Beach with a lighting lap well out of reach for the rest of the field.

The Portuguese driver pushed his #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-06 around the 3.167km street circuit in 1:09.909, a nearly six-tenths faster than Tom Blomqvist’s Meyer Shank Racing Acura with a 1:10.498.

Albuquerque set the early pace with a 1:11.582, which was beaten by the Sebastien Bourdais with a 1m11.541s in the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac V-Series.R.

A 1:10.943 saw Albuquerque restored to the top of the time sheets, with the remainder of the 20-minute session a battle between Albuquerque and the Blomqvist’s Acura, who took more than 0.2s off the Portuguese driver’s time.

Yet a relentless attack saw Albuquerque go quicker, with a 1m10.371, before stamping his authority on the session with his 1:09.909 pole time.

Bourdais ended the session third-fastest – albeit more than second off pole – while Australian Matt Campbell starts eighth in the #7 Penske Porsche after co-driver Felipe Nasr’s 1’11.591.

Qualifying ninth overall, the #27 Aston Martin will start on pole position in the GTD class, with Dane Marco Sorensen pipping points leaders Jack Hawksworth in the #14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC-F.

In third was the Ross Gunn in the second Aston, who looked a solid chance for pole, setting the early pace after swapping fastest times with Hawksworth.

The #27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Marco Sorensen

Sorenson then eclipsed the pair with just over three minutes remaining but his pole-setting 1:17.811 – a new lap record for the class – looked under threat as Hawksworth set a faster first sector.

Yet the Lexus’ challenged was thwarted with 1:40 left on the clock when Ashton Harrison’s Acura NSX hit the wall at the exit Turn 8 and began smoking, before the Porsche 911 GT3 R of Hyett also hit the wall and came to rest behind the Acura.

With the session red-flagged, both drivers walked away from the incidents, which also saw Sorenson’s time remain unbeaten, with just 0.147s splitting the Aston from Hawksworth and Gunn.

The 100-minute Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship starts at 14:00 local (Pacific Daylight Time) Saturday April 15/0700 AEST Sunday April 16.

Join the discussion below in the comments section

Please note: reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]