LE MANS, France — By Gian Luca Guiglia, NASCAR — Stephane Azemard photo — Ander Vilarino (#2 TFT-Banco Santander Chevrolet SS) started the Le Mans Finals weekend on the right foot by scoring his second pole position of the 2014 season on a damp Circuit Bugatti granting himself a physical and psychological advantage on the other title contenders.
Reigning champion Vilarino, who leads the ELITE 1 division championship standings by eleven points over Anthony Kumpen (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) posted a lap in 2’00.840 and edged Eddie Cheever III (#51 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) for the pole position for the first race of the Le Mans Finals.
The Italian, who will be rewarded with the Race And Win Pole for scoring the highest number of poles during the season with three, will take a five-position grid penalty from Magione and starts seventh.
Last year’s double winner Frederic Gabillon (#12 Still Racing Chevrolet Camaro) will start on the outside pole, followed by Freddy Nordström (#44 Still Racing Chevrolet Camaro), Victor Guerin (#83 Brazil Team Chevrolet SS) and Anthony Kumpen, who sits second in points. The Belgian bested his teammate Bert Longin (#11 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS). Bas Leinders (#32 RCP – Marc VDS Toyota Camry) took the eighth spot on the grid ahead of title contender Borja Garcia (#1 Ford Autolix Competition Ford Mustang), while Guillaume Rousseau (#13 Bull Racing Team Ford Mustang) closed the top-10 and led the Challenger Trophy.
In ELITE 2, Guillaume Rousseau returned to race both divisions for the Le Mans Finals and immediately scored a pole position ahead of Gian Luca De Lorenzi (#67 GDL Racing Ford Mustang), who is also on double-duty this weekend.
Maxime Dumarey (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) drew first blood in his duel with Thomas Ferrando (#22 Overdrive-Buffalo Chevrolet Camaro) by taking the third spot on the grid while the Frenchman was fifth.