“It was great, great fun,” von Thurn und Taxis said. “Some water on the track, at I think the ninth corner, meant we had to take it easy towards the end. But it’s an incredible track and a bunch of really lovely people. It’s an honor to be here.” Water was released from a tire barrier earlier in the session because of contact from two other cars.
The GTS qualifying session was a little more straightforward with the fast times coming early in the session, led by the Kia Racing/Kinetic Motorsports teammates of Wilkins, in the No. 38 PutOnTheBrakes.org Kia Optima and Nic Jonsson in the No. 36 DonorsChoose.org Kia Optima. Wilkins’ time of 1:15.381 is also a new track record, as he led the top 10 drivers in eclipsing the previous mark of 1:16.726. Wilkins’ pole is his second this season (round eight, Road America) and fourth of his career.
“Heading into tomorrow, my concern if anything is the pace of some of the GT-A cars,” Wilkins said. “Some guys at the back of the field are not that far off our lap times. Their tires take some time to come up. We don’t want a result like Detroit, where a GT car splits us up if it doesn’t get going and impacts our start.”
Wilkins, who trailed Jonsson by one point entering the weekend, seeks a home race victory and his second win of the season.
“It would be great. This is the race I’ve always wanted to win,” Wilkins said. “Tomorrow we’ll work together and provide the best result we can for Kia. It’s focused on the manufacturer’s race and delivering to Kia what they’ve given us.”
Behind the Kia teammates, Drew Regitz turned in a career-best qualifying effort in the No. 02 TRG-AMR North America Aston Martin GT4. Regitz, who had a best prior start of sixth, will line up third for Saturday’s round nine.
Jack Baldwin in the No. 73 RESET-MD Porsche Cayman S and Andy Lee in the No. 20 Crown Seven/BestIT Chevrolet Camaro round out the top five.