A driver with only six career IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship starts went head-to-head with one of IMSA’s most decorated drivers in qualifying Friday for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. In the end, it was the Ferrari of Matteo Cressoni who edged out the Acura of Andy Lally with three minutes remaining in the 15-minute GT Daytona (GTD) class qualifying session to score his first career TOTAL Pole Award.
Cressoni lapped the 2.54-mile circuit in one minute, 20.661 seconds (113.361 mph) for the pole-winning lap in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3. He last competed with Scuderia Corsa at Watkins Glen in June, finishing second alongside co-drivers and current points leaders Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan as a third driver for the WeatherTech Championship’s four Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup events.
“You know, we didn’t know until today [we’d be so fast],” said Cressoni. “What can I say? The car was fantastic and the team did an amazing job. I want to say thanks to the team, and this guy [Alessandro Balzan], my teammate who helped me yesterday to get me some laps in the car and get used to it and this track. Now we focus on the race to go tomorrow.”
The driver Cressoni edged for the TOTAL Pole Award is no stranger to victory lane with 34 career wins, but Lally typically does not typically qualify for the Michael Shank Racing w/ Curb-Agajanian team and has just one pole in the WeatherTech Championship.
He was in position to make the most of the opportunity, but was nipped for the pole by 0.078 seconds. He made one last run at the pole on his final lap, but went off track.
Jack Hawksworth qualified third in the No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3 with six different manufacturers making up the top six spots in the session.