David Reininger - motorsport.com Watkins Glen, NY (October 2, 1999) - The Chrysler Vipers of Team Oreca and Chamberlain Motorsport occupy the first two rows of the grid for tomorrow's FIA Grand Touring Championship, the ninth round in the ...
David Reininger - motorsport.com
Watkins Glen, NY (October 2, 1999) - The Chrysler Vipers of Team Oreca and Chamberlain Motorsport occupy the first two rows of the grid for tomorrow's FIA Grand Touring Championship, the ninth round in the series. This is the first time an FIA sports car race has taken place at the 3.4-mile Watkins Glen road course since a six hour endurance race was held in June of 1981.
Starting on the pole for tomorrow's 500 kilometer race will be the No. 2 Team Oreca entry driven by Jean-Philippe Belloc and Malvern, Pennsylvania's David Donohue. Belloc set the team's fastest lap in this morning's qualifying session. "I'm very happy to be on the pole again," Belloc said. "Pole is important, but even more important is having a good car for the race."
Although the Vipers have won every race this season, Belloc expects some competition tomorrow. "The opposition will come from the Chamberlain car and from the Porsches. They have very good fuel consumption so I think that it is going to be difficult to beat them."
Splitting the Oreca Vipers is the Chamberlain Motorsport Viper No. 18 of Vincent Vosse, Xavier Pompidou and Michel Ligonnet. Pompidou's lap, also set in the morning session, was timed at 1:47.613 for an average speed of 113.74 mph. This is the second time this year a Chamberlain car has qualified on the front row. "When I got out of the car this morning, I was on the pole, so I am really happy," said Pompidou. "I think we're a little more competitive than at Homestead last weekend, but it will be really difficult to beat the Oreca cars. We have a very good chance for a podium."
The second row of the grid is comprised of another pair of Vipers. The No. 1 Oreca car of former Formula One driver Karl Wendlinger and Olivier Berrata will start third. The second Chamberlain Motorsport entry driven by Christian Glasel and Christian Vann will start fourth.
Wolfgang Kaufmann and veteran endurance racer Bob Wollek will start fifth in a Porsche 911 GT2. Although Kaufmann was unhappy with his third place time from the morning session, the time stood as fifth fastest of the day. "I'm happy to be the best Porsche, but not happy with my time. I did two warm-up laps on my set of qualifiers (Dunlops) but I had a problem with a slow Porsche on my fast lap. I couldn't take the racing line. I'm sure I could have gone half a second quicker."
Fourteen of the 21 grid positions were established in this morning's qualifying session. "The track was little slippery in both sessions," said Andy Pilgrim, who is on loan from the factory Chevrolet C5 Corvette program to drive Corvette GTR of the Specter Werkes team. "I'm not surprised," about the fastest times coming form this morning's session. "It was much cooler this morning. It took a little longer for the tires to come in, but the car had more horsepower with the cooler air this morning."