LONG BEACH, CA April 15, 2011 – Guy Smith qualified the #16 G-OIL/ModSpace /Construct Corps Mazda Lola on pole for Saturday’s Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach. It was Smith’s second overall ALMS pole following his first last year at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. In one of the ALMS’ more closely fought qualifying sessions, the pole changed hands nine times in fifteen minutes.
“I did a 16.7 this morning and my engineers told me we needed to get it down to the 14’s for qualifying and I was skeptical,” said Smith. “This is a credit to our engineers –on a circuit like this, you are second guessing what the track is going to be like for a qualifying session eight hours after you first ran on it. Qualifying was very close. Every time I would cross the line, Klaus (Graf) would go quicker and he kept me honest the whole time. We have given ourselves a good opportunity tomorrow on a track where overtaking is difficult.”
Noted Smith’s co-driver, Chris Dyson, “I am absolutely thrilled with the performance of the team and Guy’s speed. On a weekend where it is critical to meet the challenge of a short window to get it right, the guys made a great step from our only practice session in the morning.”
“We have to thank the folks at Dunlop and all of the support we get from John Doonan and everybody at Mazda,” stated Rob Dyson. “They are absolutely committed to racing and committed to this program. We are very pleased to be able to deliver in their hometown. They have a lot of people here from their headquarters and we are glad to be able to start their car on the front row. It is a tribute to their corporate ethos and how oriented they are to performance and racing.”
“When you are on the pole at Long Beach, that means a lot in this industry.” said John Doonan, Manager Motorsports Team Development at Mazda North American Operations. “On behalf of everyone at Mazda, I would like to dedicate this pole to the people in Japan. It is very difficult over there and they have gone through so much, so Guy Smith and the Dyson team and all of us dedicate this pole to the people of Japan.”
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