BALTIMORE, Friday, August 31, 2012: A mere 8/100ths of a second separated first and second for tomorrow’s Baltimore Sports Car Challenge presented by SRT, and it was CORE autosport’s Ryan Dalziel who landed the second spot.
Dalziel, driving the #06 Soloson Import ORECA FLM09 for CORE autosport, the 2012 American Le Mans Series Prototype Challenge (PC) team champions, tried with all of his might but was unable to shave off that last bit to score the pole position.
Dalziel’s fastest lap of 1:27.541 (83.892 mph) around the newly-configured Baltimore track was good for second spot in the PC class (eighth overall behind the faster P1 and P2 cars). Alex Popow, lead driver of the #06 machine and current PC driver championship points leader, will be taking first shift in tomorrow afternoon’s two hour event, and is positioned to take the first spot immediately upon the waving of the green flag.
Colin Braun, driving the #05 Composite Resources machine, ran a fast lap of 1:27.794 (83.650 mph), good for the third PC starting spot (ninth overall). Braun and co-driver Jon Bennett, who will be starting the race tomorrow, are currently in second spot in the driver standings.
The temporary Baltimore street course started with drama, as a couple of different open-wheel series sharing the track this weekend had trouble with a railroad track crossing in their morning practice sessions. The ALMS sports cars did not have such trouble, but as this was a safety issue for the lighter open-wheel cars, all on-track activity was delayed, affecting the entire second half of the day.
Not only did two hours of practice time became one and a half, a challenge for Popow, Dalziel and Braun, who had never driven the track before, but the actual configuration was changed. The long front straightaway saw the addition of a large chicane, which causes the cars to slow down. The 2.02-mile, 12-turn track became a 2.04-mile, 13-turn circuit, and the CORE autosport team had a mere 30 minutes to get used to the new configuration.
There may be additional changes to the track for tomorrow’s race, but the CORE autosport team is prepared for the possibility.
"I love this place.
"The track is very challenging and seems to change every second – both the surface and it turns out the configuration.
"The surface is rough and quite bumpy but I think that’ll play into our team’s strengths of putting together reliable cars.
“Both Colin and Ryan showed great pace in qualifying, so we know the speed is there.
“For tomorrow I’m looking forward to a successful race and keeping Murphy’s Law at bay.”
“Qualifying went well and the car is very good.
“Unfortunately today was tough with the limited amount of practice we got.
"Especially with some of the changes – the new chicane was a challenge to figure out.
“Overall the combination of our car, drivers and our race pace should give us a shot tomorrow for a strong result.”
“This is a very challenging track. The first time I drove on it this morning was quite interesting – there’s so much wall that all looks the same, I wasn’t sure where to turn! But as the day went on I got some good points of reference and was just fine.
“Tomorrow’s race will be all about not making mistakes, especially with some of the tight sections.
“Starting second will be good for us, even better if I can get to first place just after the start. If I can’t do it then, it’ll be very hard to pass. All of the PC cars are so equal that it’ll be hard to find a place to do it.
“We’ll keep it out of the walls and make it to the end in good shape.”
“Qualifying was a lot of fun and I know that we had the car to take pole positions, but starting second is just fine for the race.
“Turn 1, which is a more than 90-degree right hander, is always difficult, especially at the start of the race, but Alex is a smart driver. It’s more likely that the group starting behind us will have some carnage.
“The question is what other changes will happen for tomorrow, but I guess we’ll all find out together!
“The CORE autosport cars are very strong this weekend and I think that I can do my job here and extend Alex’ lead in the championship.”
Source: CORE autosport