Mid-Ohio: Series qualifying report

Donohue Records Series-Leading Third Rolex Series Pole Position Friday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Aschenbach becomes eighth different pole winner in as many Rolex Series GT events LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 20, 2008) -- Running with a new ...

Donohue Records Series-Leading Third Rolex Series Pole Position Friday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Aschenbach becomes eighth different pole winner in as many Rolex Series GT events

LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 20, 2008) -- Running with a new Porsche engine and limited practice time, David Donohue waited until the final minutes of qualifying to shatter the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course track record in qualifying for the EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank, Round 8 of the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 season.

Competitors will take the green flag Saturday at 5:10 p.m. ET (live, SPEED). The race will run 250 miles, 111 laps on the 2.258-mile circuit, with a two hour, 45-minute time limit.

It was the series-leading third pole position of the season for Donohue, who co-drives the No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley with Darren Law. His fastest lap came on his ninth of the 15-minute session. Donohue broke Jon Fogarty's year-old Daytona Prototype track record of 1:18.374 (103.718 mph. Fogarty qualified second, running a lap of 1:17.885, 104.369 mph, in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley.

Mark Wilkins was third in the No. 61 AIM Autosport Ford Riley at 1:18.109 (104.070 mph), followed by Memo Rojas in the No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley at 1:18.219 (103.924 mph) and Nic Jonsson in the No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola at 1:18.612 (103.404 mph).

Rojas is seeking his fifth Daytona Prototype victory of the season. His co-driver, Scott Pruett, was not at Mid-Ohio Friday, as he was practicing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at California's Infineon Raceway. The pair shares the point lead in the division, leading Jim Matthews and Marc Goossens by 36 points.

Rounding out the top 10 were Michael Valiante, Ricky Taylor, Guy Cosmo, John Pew and Shane Lewis.

Lawson Aschenbach becomes eighth different Rolex Series GT pole winner

Lawson Aschenbach became the eighth different pole winner for as many Rolex Series GT races this season, running a lap of 1:25.627, 94.933 mph in the No. 72 Autohaus Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R. It was the second GT pole of the season for that car, with Tim Lewis Jr. leading qualifying at Lime Rock Park. Aschenbach and Lewis have also earned the assistance of Terry Borcheller this weekend.

Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen GT race winner Jeff Segal was second fastest in the No. 69 SpeedSource FXDD Mazda RX-8, 1:25.639 (94.929 mph). Rounding out the top five were Andrew Davis at 1:25.785 (94.758 mph) in the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Stevenson Automotive Pontiac GXP.R; Nick Ham at 1:25.816 (94.724 mph) in the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazdaspeed/Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8 and Eric Lux (1:26.018; 94.501 mph) in the No. 86 Farnbacher Loles Porsche GT3.

The Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Street Tuner class is also competing this weekend, with a two-and-a-half hour race scheduled for 12:45 p.m. Sunday.

FAST FACTS (POST-QUALIFYING, PRE-RACE)

- This is the third pole position of the season for David Donohue (1:17.883; 104.372 mph) in the Rolex Series Daytona Prototypes and the third for the No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley. Donohue broke the track record of 1:18.374 (103.718 mph) set a year ago by Jon Fogarty, who will share the front row with Donohue.

- Donohue is the only driver in the Daytona Prototypes with multiple pole positions. He also earned poles at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

- Donohue and co-driver Darren Law are looking for their team's first Rolex Series victory since 2004. Law is also looking for his first career Rolex Series overall victory (he has eight class wins).

- The last team to win a Daytona Prototype race from the pole was the No. 99 Pontiac Riley (Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty) in August 2007 (Infineon Raceway). This season, the top starting position to win a race was third (TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates).

- Jon Fogarty (1:17.885; 104.369 mph) was second in the Daytona Prototypes, just .002 seconds off the pole time, in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley. Fogarty was the previous track record holder. Fogarty was the second of four drivers to break the track record.

- This is Fogarty's second front row start of the 2008 season. Fogarty also started second at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and eventually finished fourth with co-driver Alex Gurney in the car. Last year, he and co-driver Alex Gurney started from the front row in all 14 races.

- Fogarty and Gurney are the defending race winners, having led 105 of 111 laps in last year's contest.

- Mark Wilkins (1:18.109; 104.070 mph) was third in the Daytona Prototypes in the No. 61 AIM Autosport Exchange Traded Gold Ford Riley, the highest qualifying Ford of the session. Wilkins and co-driver Brian Frisselle have started within the top five for all seven starts this season.

- Memo Rojas (1:18.219; 103.924 mph) was fourth in the Daytona Prototypes in the No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley, his fourth top-six start of the season. Rojas and co-driver Scott Pruett currently lead the driver point standings.

- Nic Jonsson (1:18.612; 103.404 mph) was fifth in the Daytona Prototypes in the No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley despite spinning into the gravel during his run. The fifth-place start marks the team's best start of the season, as he and co-driver Ricardo Zonta's previous best was a sixth-place start at Virginia International Raceway. Their No. 76 will also be the highest-starting Lola.

- Four different engine manufacturers made up the top four (Porsche, Pontiac, Ford, Lexus). The highest qualifying BMW was 18th.

- Rileys took the top four starting positions. The highest Lola was fifth, highest Dallara was seventh, Coyote was eighth and highest Crawford was 12th.

*****

- This is Lawson Aschenbach's first career Rolex Series GT pole (1:25.627; 94.933 mph) and the second of the season for the No. 72 Autohaus Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R. This is the first season the No. 72 car is competing in the Rolex Series. Tim Lewis Jr. earned the team's first pole of the season at Lime Rock Park.

- Aschenbach is the eighth driver this season to capture a Rolex Series GT pole. Teammate Sylvain Tremblay (Rolex 24 At Daytona), Kelly Collins (Homestead-Miami Speedway), Pierre Kaffer (Mexico City), Dominik Farnbacher (VIR), Nick Ham (Laguna Seca), Tim Lewis Jr. (Lime Rock) and Jeff Segal (Sahlen's Six Hours) have also won pole positions.

- This is Pontiac's third Rolex Series GT pole of the season, tying the manufacturer with Mazda for the most this season. Porsche has two pole positions in 2008.

- This is the second straight front row start for Jeff Segal, who won the pole position for his first career victory in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen. Segal (1:25.639; 94.919 mph) drives the No. 69 SpeedSource FXDD Mazda RX-8 and will start the two-hour, 45-minute race.

- Segal was not set to qualify Friday but co-driver Emil Assentato fell ill during the day. Nick Longhi, who drove for the team at Watkins Glen International, is being flow in to stand by if needed.

- So far this season, all seven race winners have come from the front two rows, including three drivers from the pole position (Sylvain Tremblay, Rolex 24; Kelly Collins, Homestead-Miami; Jeff Segal, Sahlen's Six Hours).

- Andrew Davis (1:25.785; 94.758 mph) was third in GT in the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Stevenson Automotive GXP.R. This marks the fifth time this season the car has qualified in the top two rows. The team also has four previous podiums this season.

- Nick Ham (1:25.816; 94.724 mph) was fourth in GT in the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazdaspeed/Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8. Ham and co-driver Sylvain Tremblay have four fourth-place starting positions this season, and seven of their eight starts have come in the top five. The duo finished second at Mid-Ohio last season.

- Eric Lux (1:26.018; 94.501 mph) was fifth in GT in the No. 86 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3, matching his and co-driver Leh Keen's best starting position of the season (Mexico City). The pair is looking to improve on a season best of third at VIR.

- Three different manufacturers were in the top five, including Pontiac, Mazda and Porsche. The highest qualifying Corvette was 16th (Joe Nonnamaker, No. 43 at 1:26.988; 93.447 mph), while the only BMW M6 was 17th (Tommy Constantine, No. 53 at 1:27.200; 93.220 mph).

- Point co-leader Kelly Collins qualified eighth at 1:25.749 (94.798 mph). He is sharing the car this weekend with fellow point co-leader Paul Edwards.

- Defending race winner Andy Lally's co-driver Ted Ballou was 13th in the No. 66 Porsche GT3. Fellow defending race winner RJ Valentine was 20th in the No. 68 Porsche GT3.

POST QUALIFYING QUOTES

David Donohue (No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley): "(The track's) demanding on a lot of fronts, (and) you have to be pretty aggressive. It takes a lot from a driver -- a lot of different techniques. It's throwing a lot of curve balls at us, especially having come from a track that is so incredible different."

Jon Fogarty (No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley): "I feel a little bad, like I didn't do the team or Pontiac justice. With a track resurfacing, it just takes a little time for the pace to come. I knew it was important for us to be around for qualifying." (talking about Mid-Ohio) "It's technical, a lot corners come at you in quick succession. It's demanding on a lot of fronts. The new surface is defiantly interesting. It's strange. Trying to figure out how to make the most of it is definitely a challenge for us."

Lawson Aschenbach (No. 72 Autohaus Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R): "It was pretty good, but the track was pretty greasy. We made some changes to the car that seemed to work pretty good. The Pontiac is a good, pretty good on tire wear but we'll have to see what the race brings. It's been a tough year. We've had some rough, unfortunate things happen. It's a new team, new engineer, new car for them, so we're gonna have some struggles. Hopefully we can keep it up front and get a good finish out of this."

Jeff Segal (No. 69 SpeedSource FXDD Mazda RX-8): "It's gonna be interesting and challenging. I'm running in KONI Challenge and the Rolex Series with two good teams and two good cars, so that's enabled me to have that good of a run here. But we've got a tough race ahead of us, with my co-driver, Emil Assentato, under the weather, I wasn't planning on qualifying and then at the last minute we had to make that change. It still remains to be seen how the race is going to pan out tomorrow."

Andrew Davis (No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R): "To be honest, I'm pleased, even though we're back a few spots from where we want to be. We were struggling this morning with setup stuff and the car in general, so we made a lot of progress. I didn't think we'd be up this far during practice. But the crew has been changing things like crazy, working real hard. It's nice to be on the inside. I've been on the outside rows all year long, so it's nice to be starting third instead of fourth or second."

-credit: garra

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing , Krohn Racing , Stevenson Motorsports , SpeedSource