Blancpain World Challenge Americas Championship leader Toni Vilander captured a pole position, while new R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari co-driver Daniel Serra took a front row start in Saturday morning’s qualifying at Watkins Glen International.
Three Ferrari teams qualified Saturday morning at The Glen as the series returns to action after nearly a three-month layoff. Qualifying began with a 15-minute session for the drivers who will start Saturday’s opening 90-minute race. After a short break, their co-drivers took to the wheel for 15 minutes to set the grid for Sunday’s race.
Saturday. Daniel Serra improved on his second flying lap to run a lap of 1:43.524-seconds in the No. 61 Ferrari 488 GT3, taking second position on the grid for Saturday’s race. Ferrari teams swept the front row in Am qualifying starting with Christopher Cagnazzi who captured the Am class pole, turning a lap of 1:46.072-seconds in the One11 Motorsports Ferrari. Mark Issa was second-fastest in his first drive in the No. 7 Squadra Corsa Garage Italia Ferrari with a lap of 1:47.062-seconds.
Sunday. Championship leader Toni Vilander needed only one flying lap to claim the pole for Sunday’s race, turning a lap of 1:43.295-seconds. He then parked the red Ferrari for the remainder of the session.
“We’ve been good the whole weekend,” Vilander said. “It’s the same trend as the whole year. We come to the same racetracks as 12 months ago, and somehow, we’re a little bit better. We have exactly the same car, but we just keep working a little bit better.”
Vilander credited his new co-driver Serra – the GTE-Pro class winner for Ferrari at Le Mans in June – for helping him to the pole.
“I used some real good information from Daniel,” Vilander said. “After the first qualie, the car was not perfect for him. There’s not many things we can adjust between the sessions [during a 10-minute break], but we went to the right direction and the car was really good already on the flying lap. I was super happy.”
Also helping Vilander get up the speed was a set of tire warmers, used for the first time in the series. “The tire warmers came at the request of our competitors, but it’s worked in our favor,” he said.
Anthony Lazzaro was second fastest in Am qualifying, running 1:45.019 in the No. 19 One11 Competition Ferrari. He missed the pole by a mere .157-seconds. Championship leader Martin Fuentes qualified third, 1:45.342-seconds in the No. 7 Squadra Corsa Garage Italia Ferrari.
Schedule. The first race in the Labor Day weekend event takes the green flag Saturday at 3:10 p.m. (all times ET). Sunday’s event will start at 3:15 p.m. Both races will be streamed live on gt-world-challenge-america.com, with Sunday’s contest live on the CBS Sports Network beginning at 3 p.m. ET.