Mosport: Qualifying report

IT'S (CHRIS) DYSON'S DAY IN MOSPORT QUALIFYING Chris Dyson will start first in the No. 20 Dyson Racing Lola for the Grand Prix of Mosport, his first career ALMS pole. Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada - For the third straight year, a Dyson Racing...

IT'S (CHRIS) DYSON'S DAY IN MOSPORT QUALIFYING

Chris Dyson will start first in the No. 20 Dyson Racing Lola for the Grand Prix of Mosport, his first career ALMS pole.

Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada - For the third straight year, a Dyson Racing Lola is on the pole for the Grand Prix of Mosport. Only it wasn't the one most would have thought. After watching one of his teammates stealing all the thunder early in the weekend, Chris Dyson put the No. 20 Lola EX257 on the pole position Saturday during qualifying, the first time he has been a fast qualifier in the American Le Mans Series.

Dyson toured the 2.459-mile, 10-turn Mosport International Raceway in 1:07.682 (130.794 mph) to edge out the No. 16 sister car of Butch Leitzinger and James Weaver. Weaver, who had won the last two poles at Mosport, had been quickest in every session this weekend.

"We're really pleased. We've been here since last Sunday," said Dyson, who will team with Andy Wallace. "This has been a long frustrating season; we've had a lot of bad luck. Here Monday and Tuesday we concentrated more on tire development and fuel economy. Today was a treat to go out with low fuel and fresh tires. I'm mostly happy that we've come to a really good race balance and that makes Andy happy and with his experience is always a good thing. So I know the team is extremely happy."

The two Dyson Lolas outran Champion Racing's two Audi R8s for the front row. Champion's No. 1 entry of JJ Lehto and Marco Werner will start third after a lap of 1:07.989. Point leaders Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela, in the No. 2 Audi, will start fourth following a qualifying effort of 1:08.165.

"I expected the team to be on the front row this weekend, but I was hoping the gap over the Audis would have been better," Dyson said. "They do really well in traffic and this track favors that. The two (team) cars have gone down different routes for setup. We'll have a talk tonight to see what we're all going to do for the race. Being on pole helps favor a win, so if I'm sitting here tomorrow with a microphone in my hand I'll be an extremely happy guy. Like my dad always says 'Payday is Sunday.'"

The No. 37 Intersport Racing Lola of Clint Field and Liz Halliday will start from the LMP2 pole for the fourth straight race.

In LMP2, Clint Field won his fourth straight pole as he drove the No. 37 Intersport Racing Lola on a lap of 1:10.355. Field, who will drive with Liz Halliday, outpaced the No. 10 Miracle Motorsports Courage of Jeff Bucknum and Chris McMurry by about 0.8 seconds.

"There was not a lot of time to get things together or practice (Friday)," Field said. "We had electrical problems and problems with turbo. We thought we would be slower than Jeff and Chris, but it came together and we started running some good laps. We put down some fast laps and got ourselves on the pole."

It was in the last round of the ALMS, at Road America, where Field's lead in the class drivers standings went up in smoke.literally. The car, with Halliday at the helm, caught fire early in the race.

"We had a fuel filter burst so we were literally pumping fuel into the fire," Field said. "It was a big deal getting the car back together for Mosport. The guys did a great job ordering all the parts.

"This track is fun compared to others," he added. "There's lots of fast daunting corners. Liz had no time in the car yesterday, and I think eight laps today. But she got her up to speed and is going to start tomorrow. I think that's the best strategy against Miracle. Hopefully she won't have to be putting out any fires."

ACEMCO Motorsports' No. 63 Saleen S7R will start from the GT1 class pole for the first time since 2002.

For the first time this year (and since 2003 at Petit Le Mans), a Corvette did not set the fastest qualifying time in GT1. Instead, the honor at Mosport went to the No. 63 ACEMCO Motorsports Saleen S7R. Terry Borcheller piloted the Saleen to a 1:13.450 lap, more than 0.3 seconds ahead of Corvette Racing's No. 4 Corvette C6-R, driven by Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta.

"The car was good," beamed Borcheller, who will team with Johnny Mowlem. "We did a mock qualifying toward the end of practice (Saturday afternoon), and the car was a little loose on the high-speed turns on stickers. I think the guys knew it would be better. That little bit they did helped us. The practice run was a 1:14 flat, and I was surprised. The lap was consistent to what it did in practice. The guys have been working hard and for a lot of months. Jeff has been spending a lot of money, and it's nice to see a reward."

It was Gavin who predicted a pole for the Saleen; only he thought it would come at Road America. But it's better late than never for the ACEMCO gang. Borcheller won his first pole since 2002 at Miami and seventh overall.

"We've been behind them all year," Borcheller said. "We'll try to lead the first lap and see where they would go from there. I'm not 100 percent sure how we will do in a full stint. We tuned the car for a qualifying car. We've been doing that the last couple of races. We'll have to get some more support in the back from the tires. The Michelins make life so much easier. They stay very consistent and are very predictable."

But while Gavin undoubtedly was disappointed not to win the pole, he seemed pleased that the Saleen showed the life many expected it to have.

"The Saleen is very quick, and I think we would have struggled to match its speed," Gavin said. "They got a good lap and deserved the pole. It's good for the series and good for the fans."

The No. 35 Maserati MC12 of Andrea Bertolini and Fabrizio de Simone will start third, followed (somewhat surprisingly) by Corvette Racing's No. 3 Corvette C6-R of Johnny O'Connell and local hero Ron Fellows.

"It was an exciting qualifying session," Fellows said. "It was really great trying to keep track of all the changes in the order. We went from first to fourth in a lap. This is one time I think I could have found a tenth of a second more if I could do qualifying over again. The car was good, and I did the best I could. But I sure would have liked another shot at it."

In GT2, Romain Dumas continued the qualifying excellence of the No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche. The Frenchman set a GT2 track record with a lap of 1:18.321, a shade better than the mark set last year by Lonnie Pechnik in one of the Flying Lizard Porsches. Dumas' effort landed him his second pole of the season and the fifth of 2005 for AJR.

"We have a good car and a good team, one of the best," Bernhard said. "My lap was really good. I was surprised how close we are to the No. 31 car. But I think Timo is really fast this weekend, so it shouldn't be so bad."

Bernhard and Dumas lead Patrick Long and Jorg Bergmeister of Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing by 2 points in the class drivers championship lead. The Petersen/White Lightning Porsche was 0.125 seconds behind the polesitters. The two cars started in the same order at Road America, but Long and Bergmeister squeezed out a close win to draw closer in the points battle.

"Since Sebring where we didn't finish, it's clear that we just want to finish in front of the No. 31," Dumas said. "We want to win all the time, but the target is to be ahead of the No. 31. At Road America, we gave them a small chance and they took advantage."

The No. 51 Panoz Motor Sports Esperante GTLM of Bryan Sellers and Marino Franchitti will start third, slightly ahead of the No. 50 Esperante of Bill Auberlen and Robin Liddell.

-www.americanlemans.com

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Andy Wallace , Frank Biela , James Weaver , Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Robin Liddell , Bill Auberlen , Oliver Gavin , Jörg Bergmeister , Patrick Long , Marco Werner , Clint Field , Chris McMurry , Johnny Mowlem , Romain Dumas , Fabrizio de Simone , Lonnie Pechnik , Bryan Sellers , Olivier Beretta , Andrea Bertolini , Liz Halliday , Alex Job , Chris Dyson , Emanuele Pirro , JJ Lehto
Teams Corvette Racing , Dyson Racing , Alex Job Racing