Laguna Seca: TRG qualifying report

TRG Qualifies Ninth at Laguna Seca; Five TRG Porsches in the top 16 on the grid Monterey, Calif., (May 16, 2009) - TRG's Justin Marks and Andy Lally will start from the fifth row for tomorrow's running of the Verizon Festival of Speed at Mazda...

TRG Qualifies Ninth at Laguna Seca; Five TRG Porsches in the top 16 on the grid

Monterey, Calif., (May 16, 2009) - TRG's Justin Marks and Andy Lally will start from the fifth row for tomorrow's running of the Verizon Festival of Speed at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

The TRG quintet of Porsche GT3s took to the track under 92-degree temperatures in qualifying, the hottest it has been all weekend.

Justin Marks qualified the No. 67 Construct Corp/No Fear Energy Drinks/Voodoo Ride/Kartel Motorsports/K1 Speed/Gemstone Winery/TRG Porsche GT3 in ninth with a time of 1:28.879. Marks and teammate Andy Lally are coming off a strong run two weeks ago at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

"The track seemed like it was as far off as it has been all weekend," Marks said. "It was hot and greasy and a lot of people bring dirt on the surface. It was hard for me to get the time out of it. I struggled a little, we should be better than that, but we can make it up in the race. We will have to adapt to the conditions, we will be alright tomorrow."

Ted Ballou had the controls of the No. 66 AXA/Mitchell Rubber/Wealth Management Strategies/TRG Porsche GT3 for qualifying, running a time of 1:29.529 that will have him start next to Marks on the fifth row in tenth place. Ballou and co-driver Spencer Pumpelly lead the GT point standings and are coming off a second place finish at New Jersey.

"I didn't get more than 10 laps in practice," Ballou said. "I knew our car was fast, I was just trying to get used to the car at the beginning of the session. I turned in my fastest lap on my last circuit. The tires were going fast and it was pretty slick out there. It feels good to have the car up toward the front for the start tomorrow."

John Potter had the honors of qualifying the No. 65 Riegel/Stanton/Cystic Fibrosis Foundation/65 Roses/Magnus Racing/TRG Porsche GT3. Potter turned a time of 1:29.958 that will have him go away from the grid from the sixth row. Potter is joined by seasoned sports car driver Craig Stanton.

"It was of the most fun I have had in a qualifying session this year," Potter said. "Not necessarily the best, but the most fun. I really enjoy the track. The car is running really well. I did my fastest lap of the week so I can't complain."

Rene Villeneuve qualified the No. 63 Team Polizei 144/TRG Porsche GT3 in a time of 1:30.895 that will see him take the start from the seventh row. Villeneuve and teammate Henri Richard are making their first start in the Grand-Am GT series.

"The qualifying session was a little tough at the beginning," Villeneuve said. "I tried to follow Justin Marks in our team 67 car, but a Corvette was caught between us. After about five laps the car started to come in and I was able to take four and five tenths off per lap. I stayed on the gas and I was able to set my quickest time late in the session. I was able to set our fastest lap of the weekend which is what qualifying is all about."

Josemanuel Gutierrez turned a time of 1:31.661 to start from the eighth row in the No. 68 Cohen Financial/TRG Porsche. Gutierrez is joined by local driver Scott Schroeder.

"It was really good," Gutierrez said. "It was my best lap of the weekend in qualifying. I am very happy. I had a slow start to the weekend yesterday. Today I was able to get more comfortable and into the 31's. The car is handling perfect, the crew is working hard and has made a lot of changes. Scott is doing a great job and I think we are ready for the race tomorrow."

Team owner Kevin Buckler is happy with the way the five TRG Porsches qualified today.

"The guys did a great job behind the wheel this afternoon," Buckler said. "The temperature of the track was way up today and that has had an effect on our overall speed. However, we are hearing it is going to be even hotter tomorrow, so that is something we can plan for in the warm-up. We are leading the points and need to have a solid run heading into the Watkins Glen six-hour."

-credit: trg

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Kevin Buckler , Andy Lally , Justin Marks , Spencer Pumpelly , Craig Stanton , Ted Ballou , Scott Schroeder , John Potter , Henri Richard , Rene Villeneuve
Teams Magnus Racing