Turner Sets KONI Challenge GS Mid-Ohio Qualifying Record as BMWs Dominate Friday's Session LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 22, 2007) -- Will Turner led a BMW-dominated qualifying session in the No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 for the Grand-Am KONI ...
Turner Sets KONI Challenge GS Mid-Ohio Qualifying Record as BMWs Dominate Friday's Session
LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 22, 2007) -- Will Turner led a BMW-dominated qualifying session in the No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 for the Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Grand Sport (GS) division Friday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, as the team and its competitors prepare for Saturday's two-and-a-half hour race.
Turner clocked a track record lap of 1:33.751 (86.706 mph) to win the pole, and will lead a 37-car field to the starting line for the event, which begins at 2:15 p.m. The time was not only important to Turner and co-driver Don Salama, it was also impressive for BMW, which put eight cars in the top 10, including three in the top five.
Turner and Salama have struggled this season, and are looking for their first victory of 2007. They have consolation, however, knowing what it takes to get around the 2.258-mile, 13-turn track. Turner's teammates Bill Auberlen and Chris Gleason, who start eighth in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3, are the defending race winners.
"I made a little mistake on my first flyer," said Turner, who also owns the KONI Challenge ST track qualifying record. "I knew I had a better one in it, so I saved it until I knew I was going to have clear traffic. I wrapped the lap up, and put the Turner Motorsport BMW on the pole for the fourth or fifth time this year out of six or seven races. Being on the pole doesn't mean a lot, though, because a lot can happen in the race, both strategically and luck wise. But, it's better to start up at the front rather than at the back."
Holding second quick was another BMW, driven by David Russell in the No. 99 Automatic Racing Fresh From Florida/Imported Car Store BMW M3. Russell turned in a time of 1:33.799 (86.662 mph), only four hundredths off the record pole time.
"I don't know if it was our car or the track, but we were able to do our fastest time right away," Russell said. "I tried to get better. In certain segments I could match the time, and then I would lose a little time down in the key hole. I don't if it was the track condition or if my tires went off a little, so I decided to park it early. I'm going to race on this set. We got pipped for the pole by four-hundredths of a second. My guys told me on the radio that I lost the pole. The important thing is that the Fresh From Florida car is on the front row. The Fresh From Florida team has really risen as a unit this year, and that's instrumental for us as a team to move to the next level next year."
The highest qualifying car other than a BMW M3 was Dean Martin, who co-drives the No. 52 Rehagen Racing Piloti Ford Mustang GT with Ken Wilden. Martin qualified the car at 1:34.410 (86.101 mph), and will start alongside Nic Jonsson in the No. 79 Kinetic Motorsports Savvion/Said Head Performance BMW M3.
Series championship points leader Joe Foster qualified 12th in the No. 55 Hyper Sport Supercuts Ford Mustang GT, and will start in the sixth row alongside early season leader Tom Nastasi in the No. 5 Blackforest Motorsports USG Sheetrock/Ramset Tools Ford Mustang GT.
A 20-minute final practice session for the GS cars is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. Saturday.
The weekend also features a two-and-half hour race Sunday for the ST cars. Series competitors will qualify at 12:10 p.m. Saturday, and a final practice session is scheduled for 9:50 a.m. Sunday. The race begins at 2:45 p.m.