MacNeil and Bleekemolen to start on Pole in GTC at Baltimore


BALTIMORE (Aug. 30, 2013) – Cooper MacNeil and Jeroen Bleekemolen will start the American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Baltimore on the GTC pole position in the No. 22 WeatherTech Racing Porsche for tomorrow’s two-hour race.

Bleekemolen (Monte Carlo) had the wheel for the 15-minute qualifying session. Posting an early pole time, that soon fell, the Dutchman made the session thrilling by posting a time of 1:34.322 with just 90-seconds to go. The pole is Bleekemolen’s fourth on the GTC season. MacNeil (Hinsdale, ILL) also posted fast times around the 2.02-mile, 12-turn temporary Baltimore street circuit that surrounds Camden Yards home to the Orioles.

“It was a very tight battle with Spencer [Pumpelly, Flying Lizards] and Sean Edwards [NGT],” Bleekemolen said. “In the end I was able to put a really good lap together. The car really worked well.  I knew we had a good lap in the car. I just had to get it out. It is easy to screw it up on a track like this, but it was good to get the pole for the team. They have worked really hard all day on the car and it was good to reward them with a pole. It was a great lap. The chicane is very tough just prior to the railroad tracks. If you take the curbs too aggressive it really takes the car in the air. There is a perfect run through there, but you can’t do it every time.”

MacNeil is putting in good laps, but will searching for a little more speed in the warm-up.

“Jeroen put in a great qualifying lap to put the WeatherTech Porsche on the pole,” MacNeil said. “Everything worked well on that lap for him and we are starting at the front.  It is now my job to keep it up front. My practice laps have been good. The track came back to me quickly. I need to find a little more time. I will study Jeroen’s data and be ready for the race tomorrow. The chicane is interesting. It slows us down as it should, but you can use the curbs and make up some time. Turn One last year was a crazy mess. We will need to avoid that again and then a run a clean race.”

Alex Job, team owner, has the team right where it needs to be for the start tomorrow.

“What a job by Jeroen to get the pole,” Job said. “He just seems to have a few tenths in his pocket for qualifying. Starting from the pole on a street course is a big advantage.  We will be looking to Cooper to be smart again at the start and steer clear of any incidents in the early going. The race is only two-hours long tomorrow, so we will be on our game with the pit stops and strategy.