Farnbacher Loles Racing earned its first GT pole position of the season, taking the point for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race in Mexico City. Pierre Kaffer of Salenstein, Switzerland, put the No. 87 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car on the class pole with a lap of one minute 26.621 seconds on the 2.5-mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course, at an average speed of 103.900 mph. He will drive the first race stint on Saturday, followed by 2007 Rolex Series GT champion Dirk Werner of Kissenbruck, Germany.
"Mexico is not that easy of a circuit. This is the first time I've driven this circuit and I've improved during every session," Kaffer said. "I did a long run this morning and I felt good prior to the qualifying session. In qualifying, we had everything together and it worked.
"Before qualifying, we didn't expect to be on the pole. The team did a very good job between yesterday and today. We improved things in the setups -- some small things. The important thing was to not get in traffic. The second thing was to use the peak of the tires. We did a good job with that. Finally, there were no mistakes, and the lap wasn't too bad."
Teammate Eric Lux of Jacksonville, Fla., took sixth on the GT grid in the No. 86 Porsche (1:27.383, 102.994 mph), despite losing most of a practice session on Thursday due to a water leak in the car and poor health on Friday. He will drive first on Saturday, followed by Leh Keen of Charleston, S.C.
"This morning Leh and I were optimistic because every time in the past when the Farnbacher Loles crew has had to deliver under pressure, they have done so. However, when I woke up this morning, I was very ill and I am currently very ill. I have the infamous Mexican stomach bug which is making it very difficult to stay focused and hydrated," Lux reported.
"Leh began the [Friday practice] session and the car was P2 [second in class] for nearly all of the session. I finished the session to build my comfort level with the circuit again. The car was great. I felt very ill still for qualifying, but was able to give the team a decent starting position. I left the circuit immediately after qualifying to rest and hydrate for tomorrow's race."
Team owner Gregory Loles was elated with the performance, especially with the team's resources split between sports-car races in Mexico City and Long Beach, Calif., this weekend.
"I'm very proud and grateful that Pierre stepped in and did such a great job on a track that's new for him. You can't ask for anything more! And Eric's lap was just spectacular -- we're left wondering what he would have done if he hadn't been under the weather," Loles said. "It's always great to get the pole, but on a weekend when we're stretched as a team, it's even better."