Rain washes out Road America Grand-Am qualifying, grid set by points; Porsche practice speed Awaits Saturday’s race
Elkhart Lake, Wisc., June 22, 2012 – Nothing is more natural than a Porsche at Road America, unless it’s rain. Wet weatherwas not expected for the 15-minute GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT class qualifying session today but the 4.048-mile, 14-turn Elkhart Lake, Wisc-facility was wet nonetheless. Heavy rains, which have plagued the GRAND-AM Series this year, rolled into the eastern Wisconsin resort area just minutes before the qualifying session for the June 23 Rolex 250 Driven by VISITFLORIDA.COM was set to get underway. The storm was so intense that, without a single GT car taking to the track, GRAND-AM officials declared team championship points would set the grid for the two-hour race. .
Porsches had run strong throughout the practice sessions leading into Saturday’s seventh round of the 2012 GRAND-AM season. The four 911 GT3 Cup entries set the four-fastest times in the road car-based class in an hour of practice held earlier today. With that as the backdrop, the qualifying session was being highly anticipated by the teams. Instead of what each believed to be an excellent opportunity to fill the front of the 16-car GT grid, will instead result in Porsches starting third, seventh, ninth and 16th.
Magnus Racing’s Andy Lally (Dacula, Ga.) and owner/driver John Potter (Salt Lake City) are the highest-ranking Porsche in the season-long point standings and will start No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup third in class. The grey and white Porsche had been the point leader early in the season by virtue of their first-ever Rolex 24 At Daytona victory in the season-opener. However, a recent rash of bad breaks on-track dropped them to third behind the championship leading AIM Autosport Ferrari F458 and the Chevrolet Camaro of Stevenson Motorsports.
The No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup driven by Andrew Davis (Bogart, Ga.) and Leh Keen (Charleston, S.C.) will start seventh in tomorrow’s race. Like Magnus, Brumos opened the season brilliantly with two-straight podium finishes. However, they too fell victim to race incidents and tumbled out of the top-five in points.
Steven Bertheau (Aurora, Ill.) and Spencer Pumpelly (Suwannee, Ga.) have to be among the most disappointed in the paddock. The No. 67 Sargent and Lundy TRG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup has been the quickest Porsche in three of the four practices held prior to the aborted qualifying session. In fact, in the most recent combined session – Practice Three – the California-based team was the quickest of all the GT cars. However, they will start ninth in GT when the green flag drops at 11 a.m. (CT) tomorrow. They have a season-high second-place finish at the Rolex 24.
The No. 73 Horton Autosport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup shared by Eric Foss (Dallas) and Patrick Lindsey (Santa Barbara, Calif.) will grid 14th on Saturday. The team sat out the 50th anniversary running of the Rolex 24 earlier this year and struggled with mechanical issues at the most recent race held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. As a result, the team is well down in the team championship. However, in the final practice here at Road America Lindsey set the quickest time in the session held specifically for non-professional drivers. His lap was so quick it would have placed the red and white machine second-quick behind Pumpelly in the earlier “combined” practice.
Current forecasts call for sunny skies and 72 degrees Fahrenheit at the start of tomorrow’s race. Temperatures are only expected to rise to the mid-70s by the race’s end with a chance of rain at 12 percent.