Road America: Highcroft Racing qualifying report

Highcroft Racing's Wallace Qualifies Fourth in Top Class for Sunday's Generac 500 at Road America ELKHART LAKE, Wis., Aug. 19 - Highcroft Racing's Andy Wallace of Buckingham, England qualified fourth in the LMP1 class and fifth overall ...

Highcroft Racing's Wallace Qualifies Fourth in Top Class for Sunday's Generac 500 at Road America

ELKHART LAKE, Wis., Aug. 19 - Highcroft Racing's Andy Wallace of Buckingham, England qualified fourth in the LMP1 class and fifth overall Saturday afternoon at Road America for Sunday's Generac 500 presented by the Chicago Tribune, an American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race that will be televised live on CBS beginning at 3 p.m. Eastern time.

Driving the Danbury, Conn.-based team's immaculate Lola EX257 AER No. 9, Wallace toured the 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course in 1:51.315 for an average speed of 130.915 miles per hour during the 20-minute qualifying session for LMP1 and LMP2 cars. Highcroft Racing's entry is one of six LMP1 cars in the 23-car field.

Team owner Duncan Dayton of Danbury, Conn. will drive the first stint in the car during Sunday's two-hour-and-45-minute race.

Wallace's qualifying results duplicated the team's best qualifying result this year of fifth overall at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. at the end of June, although the team qualified third in class at that event.

He did seven laps in the session, and his best lap was his fourth one. It was also extremely close to fourth overall and third in LMP1, which went to James Weaver in the Dyson Racing Lola B06/10/AER No. 16. Weaver was only 0.023 of a second faster than Wallace in his qualifying time.

Allan McNish won the pole in one of the Audis with a new track record of 1:49.181 (133.474 mph).

The excellent qualifying result for the Highcroft team was the result of some very hard work. The team lost all of its practice time here Friday when the brakes locked up as Wallace went into Turn Two right at the beginning of the first test session. The brakes got so hot they caught on fire for a bit, and the team spent the rest of the day making repairs.

"It was really quite exciting," Wallace said afterwards. "It's too bad that we lost the practice day, but at least we saved on tires and fuel," he added with a smile.

"If we were going to have this problem, I'd rather it be now than during the race," he pointed out. "And it's not like Duncan and I needed to learn the course. We both have a lot of experience here."

They've been on the podium the last three years here driving with other teams.

Wallace finished second both overall and in the LMP1 class in this race last year driving with Dyson Racing. Dayton finished second in the LMP1 class here in 2004 in the Intersport Lola Judd he shared with Jon Field. What's more, Wallace and Chris Dyson finished second overall and first in the LMP675 class here in 2003.

With all that experience, hopes are high the two can work together to produce a podium finish here on Sunday for Highcroft Racing.

Both of the drivers were very upbeat after qualifying.

"It's very, very close," Wallace pointed out. "We're just a tiny bit off third place in LMP1, and it's one of our best qualifying results this year. I've very happy for the team.

"We've had some dramas here so far, with the braking problem and losing the practice time, but the team recovered brilliantly," Wallace added. " We had a little too much understeer during qualifying, but we'll work on that tonight. Other than that I'm thrilled. The brakes are lovely now; that was just a temporary blip on the radar screen."

"Andy did a hell of a job in qualifying," Dayton said. "I'm really proud of everyone on the team for getting the set-up done so fast today. We were at a disadvantage due to the pushrod letting go on the brakes' master cylinder yesterday, but the team rebounded well and Andy did an incredible job today. I'm really proud of Thomas [Knapp] and all of the guys for getting it there.

"Now we'll just have to see what we can do tomorrow," he added.

-credit: highcroftracing.com

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Andy Wallace , Duncan Dayton , Allan McNish , James Weaver , Jon Field , Chris Dyson
Teams Dyson Racing , HART