Balzan Powers Ferrari to GT Pole
In the space of a few months, London has suddenly become a sports mecca. First it was the Summer Olympics, next the Para Olympics, and today, London’s Richard Westbrook demonstrated another reason why London is “the place” this summer by winning the pole for Sunday’s Rolex Sports Car Series race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. With a qualifying lap of 1:21:042, Westbrook’s #90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP made beating the practice sessions’ front running #99 GAINSCO Corvette DP entry piloted by series veteran Jon Fogarty look easy. However, the Londoner quickly noted this was not the case.
Jon is one of the toughest drivers to beat for the pole out there.
“Jon is one of the toughest drivers to beat for the pole out there”, said Westbrook. The Portola Valley native and his teammate, Alex Gurney, outpaced the rest of the field for most of the practice runs at the famed West Coast venue. Richard revealed no secrets as to how he managed that very quick lap, nearly two tenths of a second faster than the GAINSCO car, but he was obviously pleased as he sported a Cheshire cat grin when describing the competition between the two cars.
For his part, Fogarty, who now lives in Oregon, said he was pleased that the series was making a return visit to his native West Coast. “I am from the Portola Valley, which is just over the hills, so this is my home track”, disclosed Fogarty. The racer has a great deal of experience competing at the picturesque race trace track. For those not familiar with the San Francisco Bay area, Monterey Bay is south of San Francisco and Portola Valley is part of the West Bay area that contains San Mateo County.
Westbrook also said he is enjoying racing this track and finds the area “so beautiful, it’s incredible”. Tomorrow’s race, which will be the GAINSCO car’s 99th start looks like it will be quite competitive. Westbrook, who also won this year’s races at Barber Motorsport Park and Mid-Ohio, would gladly post a third win for Corvette Racing. The Fogarty/Gurney team is the defending race winner and Fogarty looks ready to take on the rest of the Chevy boys and the eight other DP entries.
Meanwhile, the pole for the GT class was swiftly captured by a Cinderella entry in the form of the #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 with a time of 1:27:584. Some guides for this race show no drivers assigned to the car. When qualifying began, Italian racer Alessandro Balzan was at the wheel. He will be partnering this weekend with Monaco’s Oliver Baretta.
The Rolex Sports Car race will feature a total of 27 cars with drivers from around the world. The green flag waves at Noon Pacific time and the race will be televised in the United States on SPEED.