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Briscoe puts Penske Porsche on pole

Ryan Briscoe captured his first overall pole position in the American Le Mans Series on Friday at Belle Isle.

If Ryan Briscoe felt any pressure Friday under the watchful eye of Roger Penske, he didn’t show it. The young Aussie captured his first pole in the American Le Mans Series as Penske Motorsports swept the front row in qualifying for the Detroit Sports Car Challenge presented by Bosch. Briscoe turned in a stellar time of 1:13.357 in the Porsche RS Spyder he will share with Sascha Maassen.

Briscoe puts Penske Porsche on pole

The Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix weekend is the creation of Penske, who has brought auto racing back to Detroit and revitalized Belle Isle. Briscoe showed his appreciation with a lap time that was 0.246 seconds ahead of Timo Bernhard in the other Penske Porsche. The factory entries are on a seven-race overall winning streak in the American Le Mans Series.

“It’s great racing for Roger every race whether it’s his own track or anywhere else, especially when he is on the pit stand watching every move,” said Briscoe, who has three LMP2 victories this year – two of which have been overall wins. “We have to go out there and do what we have been doing at the other races this year: make no mistakes and stay out of trouble.”

Penske Motorsports already has clinched the P2 team championship thanks to a win Sunday at Mosport by Bernhard and Romain Dumas. Next up is clinching the manufacturer crown for Porsche, which the German marque can do with a class victory.

The first-year Acura program will provide a stern challenge as evidenced by Friday’s qualifying. Bryan Herta put Andretti Green Racing’s Acura ARX third overall, just 0.411 seconds behind Briscoe. In all, the first five cars were within 0.653 seconds of each other and the first six cars were the lighter, more nimble P2s.

“These are some of the most amazing cars to drive in the corners. They are fantastic,” Briscoe said. “We have to make clean pit stops and have good driver exchanges. It will be good starting from the front row. We need to find a rhythm. Our car has been good over the duration and on used tires. It’s a matter of getting away cleanly and having a good race.”

- American Le Mans

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