Braun Repeats As Canadian IMSA Pole Winner

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Colin Braun earned the pole for the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix presented by Acura for the second-straight season. (Sarah Weeks Photo)
Colin Braun earned the pole for the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix presented by Acura for the second-straight season. (Sarah Weeks Photo)

BOWMANVILLE, Ontario – He did it again.

One year after taking the overall pole position for the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix presented by Acura for the first time with a track record lap, Colin Braun broke his own track record to win another Motul Pole Award in qualifying for Sunday’s two-hour and 40-minute IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race.

Braun posted a best time of one minute, 5.452 seconds (135.250 mph) in the No. 54 CORE autosport Nissan DPi, exceeding his 2018 record lap of 1:06.375. It was his 18th career top-level IMSA pole and his fourth at CTMP (he also had Prototype Challenge class poles in 2012 and 2016).

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He and co-driver Jon Bennett also are the race’s defending winners and already have four previous wins at CTMP with PC class wins in 2013, 2015 and 2016 to go with the overall and Prototype class victory last year. They’ll go for five on Sunday.

“I’m excited to be on pole here, at a track that I love, and Jon Bennett loves,” said Braun, who scored the first pole for a Nissan DPi since Pipo Derani did it in qualifying for the 2018 Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. “I think no matter what car we’re in we always have good confidence here. This is a track we run well at, so that tends to make us feel like we’re going to be fast here.

“You unload and you are fast, and that’s a sort of self-fulfilling cycle. We just feel really good about always coming up here. I’m happy to be on the pole, tomorrow is a long race and a different mindset, and it takes of lot of things to win. Honestly, we didn’t even do a mock qualifying run. We just worked on our race car in all three practices, and got Jon in the car, and just stuck to our plan. I feel good about what we have for a race car for sure.”

Bennett will share the front row with Helio Castroneves in the No. 7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 DPi. Castroneves logged a best qualifying lap of 1:05.526 (135.097 mph) in the car he shares with co-driver Ricky Taylor.

After scoring a breakthrough victory last Sunday in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, Jonathan Bomarito and co-driver Harry Tincknell will go for their second straight win from third on the grid in the No. 55 Mazda Team Joest RT24-P DPi. Bomarito qualified the car at 1:05.780 (134.575 mph).

WeatherTech Championship DPi points leaders Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron will look to extend what is currently a scant, one-point lead over No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R co-drivers Felipe Nasr and Derani. Montoya has a slight advantage on the starting grid after putting the No. 6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 fourth with a lap of 1:05.872 (134.387 mph).

Nasr will start sixth behind fifth-place qualifier Tristan Nunez in the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest RT24-P. Nunez clocked a best lap of 1:05.913 (134.304 mph) and will co-drive with Oliver Jarvis on Sunday; Nasr’s best lap was a 1:06.080 (133.964 mph).

In the LMP2 class, Kyle Masson collected his second WeatherTech Championship Motul Pole Award. Masson’s best lap was a 1:08.211 (129.779 mph) in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA.

“Qualifying went really well,” Masson said. “It’s awesome to be back here this year and to have the weekend start out extremely successfully compared to the way it turned out last year. It was a big disappointment last year with the turn one incident in practice one. So, to make it through qualifying and to actually get the pole, it’s a big morale boost for the team going into tomorrow.

“This track is very fast. We had a great car coming into the weekend and the Performance Tech crew just dialed it in. We’re right where we need to be for the race.”