Farnbacher Loles Racing dominated the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series GT class qualifying at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, on Friday. The team earned its fourth class pole position of the season and took both GT front-row starting...
Farnbacher Loles Racing dominated the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series GT class qualifying at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, on Friday. The team earned its fourth class pole position of the season and took both GT front-row starting spots for the 1000-km season finale set for Saturday afternoon and evening.
Leh Keen of Charleston, S.C., edged his teammate, Porsche factory driver Wolf Henzler of Nurtingen, Germany, to take the GT pole on the last lap of the rainy qualifying session. Keen lapped the 4.486-mile road course in two minutes 52.252 seconds at an average speed of 93.756 mph in the No. 86 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. He will drive first on Saturday, followed by Eric Lux of Jacksonville, Fla., and Dominik Farnbacher of Ansbach, Germany.
Farnbacher also practiced and qualified in the team's No. 88 Porsche. He was one of the first on track before rain hit early in the qualifying session, so had a comfortable second-place GT start position with his time of 3:04.518 (87.523 mph). With no chance to improve in the rain, he pitted, then watched in disappointment as the track dried and 15 cars moved ahead of him. He will start 17th in the No. 88 Porsche, then hand off to Steve Johnson of Bristol, Va., and Dave Lacey of Toronto.
Henzler started his qualifying run later in the No. 87 Porsche, so was unable to break the top-10 in class until the last minutes of the session. He shot to the class pole position on the second-last lap (2:52.724, 93.499 mph), then relinquished the pole to Keen on the final lap. He will start second for his co-drivers Bryce Miller of Summit, N.J., and Dirk Werner of Kissenbruck, Germany.
Gregory Loles, team owner: "We had the speed in the morning practice in all three cars. The one-two is a great way to start the weekend! Congrats to all the drivers -- the 88 got unlucky with the rain or it could've been a sweep of the front positions. Tomorrow we will give it our all to win."
Leh Keen, No. 86: "It was dry and then it started raining on the out-lap. I thought, 'Oh, no!' because then the first car out would have the best opportunity. So it was raining and it was a mess and everybody was going slow. Then right at the end, it started drying up and Frank [Resciniti, team manager and strategist] got on the radio and said, 'It's last lap!' There was a dry line forming everywhere except where it had been raining really bad, but I figured since a lap is so long here, by the time I did a whole lap, it would probably be dry. So I braked 100 feet later in turn one and just kinda crossed my fingers and went for it. A couple of corners went by and I realized there was some grip, so I went with it and went pretty much all out. I just had to do what I had to do. It turned out awesome, being the last car. The strategy was great!"
Wolf Henzler, No. 87: "At the beginning, I thought we'd lost the chance for a good position because we left the pits a little bit later than other cars and it started to rain a little bit more. I was worried that we couldn't improve, but it stopped raining and the track started to dry out. Then it all came down to the last lap. I set the car on pole but [then] Leh Keen went on pole and I finished second, so it's a good result for the team. For sure, it will be less trouble in turn one at the start of the race."
Dominik Farnbacher, No. 88: "In one eye, I'm crying, and in one eye, I'm happy. I went out early and I was in second place when the rain started. It was pretty good because nobody could really make a faster lap. The crew asked if I would be coming in and I said, 'Yes, if it's getting slower, just bring me in.' And then all the times got faster and the track is too long to go out, do an out-lap and then a quick lap, so the time was already gone. Otherwise, I'm happy that Leh, in the other car I'm driving, has the pole. I have a full program tomorrow -- it means I have to go running tonight!"