IMSA: Castroneves, Cameron on front row for Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio

Photo courtesy IMSA
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Courtesy IMSA Wire Service

LEXINGTON, Ohio – Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio will have a pair of Acura Team Penske Acura DPis at the front of the field when the green flag drops on the two-hour, 40-minute race at 1 p.m. ET.

For much of Saturday’s 15-minute IMSAWeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying session, it appeared that Dane Cameron would be the one leading the way in the No. 6 Acura ARX-05. However, Helio Castroneves stole the Motul Pole Award from his teammate on the final lap of qualifying, throwing down a blistering lap of 1 minute, 11.837 seconds (113.155 mph) in the No. 7 Acura DPi he co-drives with 2017 WeatherTech Championship Prototype champion Ricky Taylor.

It was the second consecutive Motul Pole Award for Acura Team Penske, as Cameron’s No. 6 co-driver, Juan Pablo Montoya, led the field to green last month in the BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach. It also was Castroneves’ second career WeatherTech Championship pole and first since scoring the pole in the 2017 Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta last October.

Castroneves also has two IndyCar pole positions at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2007 and 2008 and has two Mid-Ohio race wins in the CART Champ Car World Series in 2000 and 2001.

“Man, Dane was on it,” Castroneves said. “I knew he was going to be super-fast, and when they told me the number of the lap time that he did, and I passed him and then he did it again, and T.C. (Team Penske President Tim Cindric) – I’ve worked with T.C. in my radio with more than 10 or 15 years, and I knew exactly what he was asking for.

“I knew I had it. I just had to put it together. Every time I was going out there, the car was getting better, it was accepting it. It was a great team effort. Dane actually helped me to find out something that maybe wasn’t there, but we were able to put it together and it was awesome.”

Cameron will start second with a best lap of 1:11.984 (112.924 mph). This will be the first time that teammates will share the front row of a WeatherTech Championship race since then-Action Express Racing teammates Joao Barbosa and Cameron started 1-2 for the 2017 Rolex 24 At Daytona.

Another pair of teammates also will be sharing the second row of the Prototype grid. Mazda Team Joest locked out positions 3 and 4, with Oliver Jarvis qualifying third in the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P DPi car at 1:12.339 (112.370 mph) and Jonathan Bomarito fourth in the No. 55 Mazda DPi at 1:12.596 (111.972 mph).

Renger van der Zande completed the top five in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R he shares with Jordan Taylor. Van der Zande’s best lap was a 1:12.600 (111.966 mph).

The two-hour, 40-minute race will be televised live on FS2 at 1 p.m. ET, with live IMSA Radio coverage also available on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio.