- PC trio to start third in class -
Muscle Milk Pickett Racing claimed its first pole position at Laguna Seca on Friday with Klaus Graf setting the best time of the day with a blistering lap of one minute 13.573 seconds.
The team's PC car led by California-native Memo Gidley also had a good qualifying session at what is the team's home track by placing third in the PC class.
With Graf and Luhr pacing both practices earlier in the day, Pickett Racing was confident heading into the qualifying session with its #6 Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a P1 car.
Graf set the pace early on with a one minute 15.769 second lap but was forced back to pit lane when a red flag came out.
When the session resumed, Graf returned to the track and constantly improved his time lap after lap until posting his fastest one of the day, which was 1.785 seconds quicker than the Dyson car in second place.
The pole position is the second one of the season for the team that is based in nearby Benicia, CA.
On the PC side, Gidley, who is partnering with regular driver Mike Guasch and third driver Archie Hamilton this weekend, was in the middle of a heated battle.
On his seventh fastest lap aboard the #5 Muscle Milk /Molecule car he had moved into second place, just over a tenth away from provisional pole. However, with a very competitive field, he was relegated down to third by the time the checkered flag fell.
The American registered a lap time of one minute 18.114 seconds, which was less than two and a half tenths off the PC pole winner's time.
Muscle Milk Pickett Racing will be back on track at 10:05 am PT for the warm up session.
Round 3 of the 2012 American Le Mans Series season will be streamed live on ESPN3.com starting at 4:15 pm ET (1:15 pm PT) and will be broadcast on tape delay on ESPN2 on Sunday, May 13 at 5:00 pm ET.
Muscle Milk Quotes
Greg Pickett - Team owner, Muscle Milk Pickett Racing
"We've been continuously improving the set up on our Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a with each session and I think we found the sweet spot in qualifying and that was very gratifying today.
"Both teams did a very good job. I'm delighted with the third place of our PC car in what is a really competitive class. Memo did a great job. I think we're really melting together well as an organization.
"We haven't had the best of luck at Laguna Seca and we talked about it very early after Long Beach. We said that we wanted to come here and prove a point and so we're part of the way there.
"We won Friday but the big test is tomorrow. I'm appreciative of the pace but this an endurance contest, you have to go around here for six hours and as we've learned in the past, it's not over until it's over. I don't care if the fat lady is clearing her throat, until she starts bellowing out the song, it isn't over!"
Klaus Graf, #6 Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a"We've tried a few times now to get pole position here and to finally get it is quite an achievement for us. The HPD cars seem to like the Laguna track. They've always been quick around here and our new HPD ARX-03a performed extremely well today.
"We did make quite a few changes to find the sweet spot on the set up and to have the car as good as it was in qualifying today, it's very rewarding for the guys, they did a great job.
"It's also great for all the family and friends that will be here on race day. It gets them excited to come and watch us race for six hours.
"Looking ahead to Saturday, I think Lucas and I have enough experience to be smart and race smart. At the end of the day being on the pole isn't even half way, it doesn't mean all that much but it means a lot for the guys and it's motivating for them heading into the race."
Memo Gidley, #5 Muscle Milk/Molecule Oreca FLM09 "I feel great about today's qualifying result. It's a very competitive field and very close. I was pretty happy with the balance of the car right from the get-go.
"We've made a lot of improvements in testing and it was really the first chance I've had to run a lot of laps on a clear track and really try and push the car and see what it has. It also gave us the chance to gage where we stand because everybody is out there doing the same.
"I'm really happy, the Muscle Milk / Molecule car is running good and we have a strong driver line up this weekend.
"We need to go in with the same attitude as in Long Beach which is to get on the podium and let the race come to us and see what happens. I think we have a real good shot here. We need to go out there on race day and try and drive a mistake free race and see where we end up.
"It would be awesome to spray some champagne again. I'm really excited and looking forward to the race."