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De Phillippi, No. 25 BMW Complete Climb to Top in GTD PRO Qualifying

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McAleer, Mercedes number 32, wins the GTD Motul Pole Award at The Glen

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John Oreovich

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Preliminary qualification results

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Watkins Glen, New York – The #25 BMW Team RLL M4 GT3 has been pushing up the GTD PRO bracket all season in the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

This steady improvement in qualifying results culminated on Saturday when Connor De Phillippi took home the Motul Pole Award for Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. De Phillippi’s lap at the 3.4-mile, 22-turn Watkins Glen International track was timed at 1 minute 44.755 seconds (116.844 mph), passing Ross Gunn in 23rd place for the Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3. 0.048 seconds.

The No. 25 BMW started 12th in class at the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, the first race for the all-new M4 GT3, and then qualified eighth in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Advance Auto Parts. A sixth-place start and finish at the Acura Grand Prix at Long Beach in April represented the best results of the season until De Phillippi and co-driver John Edwards started fourth and claimed their first podium of the campaign with a third-place finish at WeatherTech Raceway. Seca Lagoon in May

Saturday’s pole was De Phillippi’s second in IMSA competition and first since Sebring in 2018.

“I think we are competitive,” said De Phillippi, a 29-year-old California native. “We are above average in all areas. We are not the fastest car in the straight and not the best in the corners, but we have a car that does everything well enough. I hope this will play into our hands in the race.

“It was the hottest conditions of the weekend for us, but the lap was good,” he continued. “I didn’t get many laps, so I rode by feel, but the car was really good. This morning we made a good move after (training) and I think we also have a good race car.”

Davide Rigon qualified third in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GT3 (1:45.169) and was the only driver to improve his time at the end of the 15-minute qualifying when the track temperature soared to over 125 degrees. Ben Barnicot in the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 will line up fourth (1:45.215).

De Phillippi said qualifying is especially important at Watkins Glen because overtaking in a race is usually extremely difficult.

“Usually this track is difficult to race if you don’t have top speed, so it was important for us to start ahead,” he said. “If we get stuck behind cars with high top speeds, the race will be difficult.

“Glad to launch P1 because it will make our job a little easier.”

Similar hot conditions are expected for Sunday’s six-hour race starting at 10:40 AM ET. Flag to Flag is available on Peacock in the US and on in other countries. Live on the USA Network starts at 2:00 pm.

Points leader McAleer puts “No”. 32 Mercedes on GTD Pole

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Stevan McAleer leads the drivers in GT Daytona (GTD) and added another achievement on Saturday: his first Motul Pole award. The Scot led the number 32 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Team Korthoff Motorsports to pole position in its class in 1:45.077 (116.486 mph).

McAleer’s performance was particularly impressive considering his lap times were second only to the best two in GTD PRO qualifying of any GT3 car. He was second fastest in the GTD with about six minutes left in qualifying and posted the best lap in his class immediately after.

“I felt pretty good, they said I was second, I was four tenths off pole and that lap wasn’t super neat,” McAleer said. “The next lap was a little better.

“But the field in GTD is so strong that you can’t drive a lap and think you got pole position easily. For us, this is the first year. The lap I did was definitely on the limit and we’ll see if we can turn it into a race win tomorrow.”

Richard Heistand was the next fastest GTD car, the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3, 0.340 seconds behind McAleer’s lap.
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Robbie Foley qualified third in the No. 96 BMW M4 GT3 Turner Motorsport, just 0.009 seconds behind Heistand.

Foley and co-driver Bill Auberlain are third in the GTD standings, 134 points behind McAleer and number 32 Mercedes. Michael Dinan is the third No. 96 driver to win the six hours last year with Foley, Auberlain and Aidan Reed at the wheel.

Ian Heylen, Ryan Hardwicke and the No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R Wright Motorsports are second in GTD points. Endurance driver Zachary Robichon qualified the car seventh on Saturday (1:45.762). Haylen and Hardwick are second in the GTD standings, 45 points behind McAleer.

“Position on the track is really important,” McAleer said, “because if you’re facing a guy who’s even remotely as fast as you, it’s very hard to get through without contact. And if you add all the prototypes that are 10 seconds faster than us, you get an exciting race. It’s certainly good to start ahead and hopefully we can keep it going.”


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