JÃ¶nsson on Top After Rainy Friday for Rolex Series in Opening Practices for VIR 400 ALTON, Va. (October 8, 2005) -- Heavy rainfall throughout much of the morning made the track at Virginia International Raceway slick, but overcast skies stayed...
Jönsson on Top After Rainy Friday for Rolex Series in Opening Practices for VIR 400
ALTON, Va. (October 8, 2005) -- Heavy rainfall throughout much of the morning made the track at Virginia International Raceway slick, but overcast skies stayed dry enough for the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series to complete the first practice sessions for this weekend's VIR 400 (Sunday, October 9, SPEED Channel, LIVE, 1:00 p.m. ET) without any major incidents but plenty of on-track action.
The weather hardly slowed No. 67 Krohn Racing/TRG co-driver Nic Jönsson, who recorded the fastest lap of the day with a 2:04.464 (94.582 mph). Jönsson, co-driving with team co-owner Tracy Krohn this weekend in Round 13 of the 14-race 2005 schedule, is looking for his second victory of the season. His earlier triumph came in a rainy victory with Krohn at the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen this past June.
"We were fighting a small hesitation in the motor at the beginning of the session, but the guys were able to fix it," Jönsson said. "We were not too bad, it is really slippery out there today. I concentrate on being smooth with the brake, maybe one gear higher everywhere and easy on the power. Maybe we can have a repeat of the Sahlen's Glen race in June when we won."
Jönsson edged Daytona Prototype championship co-leader Max Angelelli, who recorded a 2:04.725 (94.384 mph) in the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley late in the afternoon session to claim the second overall spot. Angelelli and teammate Wayne Taylor come into VIR with a 39-point championship lead over No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Lexus Riley teammates Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz (379-340).
"It was very difficult with the weather and a bit of traffic during the session," Angelelli said. "I couldn't see anything in front of me, but hopefully by Sunday we'll have a dry race. The car was very good, I was really happy with it. It was fast out there during the wet conditions and will probably be even better on a dry track."
Memo Gidley powered the No. 19 Make A Wish/Air Force Reserve/Commercial Defeasance BMW Riley to the third overall spot with a quick lap of 2:05.332 (93.927 mph). The No. 99 Gainsco/Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley was fourth, with a 2:06.419 (93.119 mph) by Alex Gurney. Matteo Bobbi rounded out the top five in the No. 77 Crown Royal Special Reserve Ford Doran and a lap time of 2:07.095 (92.624 mph).
The afternoon session saw 18 Daytona Prototypes take to the track, joined by 15 GT cars. The morning session, which ran despite heavy rainfall throughout its entirety, had limited on-track activity due to the conditions.
Krohn Racing/TRG swept the fastest laps in both Rolex Series classes Friday afternoon, with Jan Magnussen in the No. 64 Pontiac GTO.R posting a GT-best 2:11.589 (89.460 mph). Magnussen, who has claimed two GT class victories in five starts this season with teammate Paul Edwards, is looking to add VIR to a list that includes Watkins Glen and Phoenix International Raceway as tracks conquered by the brand-new No. 64 machine.
"The GTO.R has a lot of adjustability built into the suspension," Magnussen said. "We are able to tune on the run to the current track and weather conditions. The circuit was wet the whole session and probably will be for qualifying tomorrow. I hope it is for the race as well. When we have conditions like this the handicap of our restrictor and extra weight doesn't really play a role, it evens the field."
Randy Pobst, driving the No. 36 Ajilon Consulting/TPC Superchargers Porsche GT3 Cup this weekend with regular co-driver and team owner Michael Levitas, posted the second-fastest GT lap with a 2:13.470 (88.200 mph). Greg Wilkins, powering the No. 61 SAMAX/Minestar/Tim Hortons Porsche GT3 Cup, was third quickest in the session with a 2:14.284 (87.665 mph).
The Rolex Series drivers will have one more practice session Saturday morning, with qualifying for the VIR 400 beginning at 12:45 p.m. for the GT field and 1:10 p.m. for the Daytona Prototypes. The two 15-minute qualifying sessions will determine the starting grid for Sunday's 77-lap, 2-hour and 45-minute timed race around the 3.27-mile, 17-turn circuit.
The Grand-Am Cup Series, competing at VIR this weekend in their season finale, also experienced a morning session affected by heavy rain, but ran in the afternoon on a virtually dry surface. Drivers will take to the track for their last practice session Saturday morning and qualify starting at 11:00 a.m. ET. The Grand-Am Cup VIR 200 will run Saturday, October 8 at 1:50 p.m. ET (SPEED Channel, Tape Delayed, November 13 at 3:00 p.m. ET).
In the Grand Sport (GS) class, championship leader David Empringham claimed the top overall spot in the No. 05 Multimatic Motorsports/Venture Steel Ford Mustang, posting a 2:06.198 (93.282 mph). Kenny Wilden, in the No. 16 Metro Directories BMW M3, claimed the second spot with a 2:06.889 (92.774 mph). Tom Nastasi, powering the No. 5 Ford Credit/DeWALT Tools/Ramset Tools Mustang, recorded the third-fastest lap at 2:07.794 (92.117 mph).
In the Sport Touring (ST) class, Don Salama powered the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW 330i to the fastest lap in-class with a 2:12.853 (88.609 mph). Salama and teammate Will Turner trail ST championship leader David Haskell by 16 points (263-247) heading into this weekend's 62-lap, 202.74-mile event. Eric Curran, in the No. 27 Southern Auto Auction/Acura Certified RSX-S, was second-quickest with a 2:13.320 (88.299 mph) and Tim Pappas posted the third-fastest ST lap with a 2:13.696 (88.051 mph) in the No. 97 H&R Springs BMW 330i.