TRG's Pumpelly Posts Third-Quickest Time in GT Qualifying at Rolex 24 2006 Rolex 24 GT Winner is Fastest Porsche Driver DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., January 24, 2008 -- Spencer Pumpelly led the way for the seven-car Porsche brigade from TRG in Thursday...
TRG's Pumpelly Posts Third-Quickest Time in GT Qualifying at Rolex 24
2006 Rolex 24 GT Winner is Fastest Porsche Driver
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., January 24, 2008 -- Spencer Pumpelly led the way for the seven-car Porsche brigade from TRG in Thursday qualifying for this weekend's Rolex 24 At Daytona, posting the third-quickest time of the GT class and the fastest time for any Porsche driver.
The 2006 Rolex 24 At Daytona GT class winner posted a best lap at 1:50.945 (115.517 mph) in the No. 67 Monster Cable Need for Speed Porsche GT3, which was less than two-tenths of a second off the GT pole-winning time. The No. 67 machine--which Pumpelly will share with co-drivers Tim George Jr., Bryan Sellers, Emmanuel Collard and Romain Dumas--was one of five GT-class cars to be locked into the field in Thursday's qualifying session for the twice-around-the-clock event this weekend.
"I got a big tow on that lap, but I also got some traffic on that lap, too, so it all balanced out," Pumpelly said. "We have a pretty good car. I brought it in early because we lost the clutch, but I think I got my lap. I don't think there was another faster one in it. There might have been that lap again, but that was it."
The top 30 overall positions in Thursday's qualifying session are locked into the field for the Rolex 24. With 25 cars posting times in the faster Daytona Prototype class, that left five secure positions for the GT class. While the No. 67 was the only TRG entry to have that luxury, the other six TRG Porsches were not far off.
"All in all, qualifying went really well," said TRG owner Kevin Buckler. "We put one car into the show today. We needed to make the top five, and Spencer Pumpelly in the (No.) 67 did a great job. He was the fastest Porsche. Martin Ragginger, the new Porsche Junior driver in his first time here at Daytona did a great job with the (No.) 62 car. Bryce Miller did a nice job, too.
"The top 20 are just incredible drivers. Everybody has got their hired guns in the car. I felt everybody did a good job. John Mayes drove well, Tommy Archer drove well and Duncan Ende put a real good time down, too. Unfortunately, the (No.) 64 car had a gearbox problem and were unable to post a good time today, but we'll get them back out."
The second-quickest entry from TRG was Ragginger in the No. 62 Burtin Engineering/Foametrix/Westfund.com Porsche GT3. Ragginger, whose co-drivers are Jack Baldwin, Claudio Burtin, Scott Tucker and Ed Zabinski, posted a best lap at 1:51.573 (114.866 mph), good for seventh in class.
"For sure, I want to be the fastest Porsche, but with seventh I can be happy since it's my first time here at Daytona," Ragginger said. "The car was pretty good. TRG, Kevin and the whole crew worked very well. Without the car, you cannot go in the front. You need the car, and I had a car, so that's a compliment for my crew. Tomorrow it's important to find a good rhythm for the race, because it's 24 hours. It's a long race. A lot of things can happen. My teammates have to do well--and they will do well--I will do well, and then everything is okay."
Miller piloted the No. 66 Mitchell Rubber/Marquis Jet/Elf Oils/IPC Porsche GT3 to the 11th-quickest GT time at 1:51.802 (114.631 mph). Miller is sharing the ride with Ted Ballou, Andy Lally and Richard Westbrook. Miller and the No. 66 team were inside the top five in testing at Daytona earlier this month, and Lally was third-quickest in Thursday's morning practice session.
"In the qualifying session, for me, the car was really soft," Miller said. "I think we just happened to get away a little bit from where we had the car here during the test days. We were carrying really good speed with the car at that point. I think we know where we need to go with the car, and we may start heading back into that direction and try to find a good balance between something that's soft and can preserve tires over the distance and something that can also deliver some sort of performance and speed. That's what we're working on. I don't know how much that qualifying result really says about where we're going to finish."
Ende posted the 22nd-quickest GT time in the No. 63 The DigiTrust Group/Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing/Impremedia/Reigel Tuning/Adam's Polishes/La Vi Porsche GT3. Ende's time was 1:52.278 (114.145 mph) in the car he is co-driving with Pierre Borque, Hima Maher and Ron Yarab Jr.
"Qualifying went pretty well," Ende said. "The car was great. I was just outside of the draft from one of the Farnbacher cars and another one of the Porsches the whole time. Since they were drafting each other, I could never quite catch up to get a tow. I think if I had done that, I'd have another five or 10 spots on the grid, but it's a good, solid spot. We're midfield, but we're going to have a really strong race this weekend."
Archer, a Rolex 24 At Daytona veteran, posted the 29th-quickest GT time in the No. 65 Lavender Bridal Salon Porsche GT3 he is sharing with Russ Oasis, Jim Stout, Tom Atherton and Jason Daskalos. Archer's best lap was at 1:53.174 (113.242 mph).
"All of us guys in the (No.) 65 team are used to driving something with the engine in the front, so it's been a little bit of a learning curve and probably bigger than I thought it'd be," said Archer. "I think that our car is still be adjusted and still being tweaked on. We just went the quickest we've gone in it since we've been driving it, so that's good, although we went backwards on the grid. We've just got to work a little harder and try to figure out where we're missing here and pick up a few more spots."
Mayes was 35th in class with a lap at 1:54.316 (112.110 mph) in the No. 68 ACG Motorsports/Cohen Financial/Thomas Weisel Partners/Muffin Top Racing Porsche GT3. Mayes is co-driving with Michael Auriemma, Michael Gomez and Scott Schroeder.
"I think we've got a little more work to do," Mayes said. "There's definitely more out there. We're going to spend a little time with the car tonight and try to get a little bit of the push out. Hopefully, we'll go out tomorrow and see some numbers in the 53s (one-minute, 53-second range)."
Six of the seven TRG entries posted times in the first GT qualifying session of the weekend. The No. 64 J Lowe Racing/TRG Globus/Adopt A Pig/CRG/Maxter/Rotax/MBA Group/F1 Air/SRS/NMT Porsche GT3 only did an "out" lap in the hands of driver Johannes van Overbeek before a gearbox problem sent the car to the garage. For his part, Van Overbeek--whose co-drivers are Jim Lowe, Jim Pace, Tim Sugden and R Valentine--was not terribly concerned about the issue.
"The J Lowe car felt great," said van Overbeek. "Unfortunately, we never got a lap in. We had a gearbox problem that we're resolving now. It's too bad for the guys, and they worked hard, but we'll get it fixed tonight, make sure it works properly and go out and re-qualify tomorrow. We're here to race, not qualify. If we never run the car until the race and end up winning, I'd take that any day over running every session, qualifying on the pole and crapping out after the first hour. For this race of all races, qualifying isn't everything. As a matter of fact, I can't remember the last time a car that qualified on the pole actually won the race, so no worries."