Qualifying for VIR 400 Cancelled due to Rain; ...
Qualifying for VIR 400 Cancelled due to Rain; #10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley to Start From Pole Position in DP and #65 TRG Pontiac GTO.R First in GT ALTON, Va. - Pontiac is once again on the pole position, this time for the upcoming Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series race this Sunday at Virginia International Raceway, although not by the conventional means of qualifying. Today's session was rained out, forcing the sanctioning body to configure the starting grid by order of team points. Fortunately for the SunTrust Racing team, in the Daytona Prototype(DP) class it has the most points and so do its drivers, Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli. They will use this opportunity to try and clinch the team and drivers championship although their series rivals Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz of the #01 Lexus Riley will also start on the front row.
"This starting position gives us a clear advantage against teams with much fewer points than us," said Max Angelelli. "However, it doesn't really help us compared to the #01 car because we will start next to each other. At the same time, it will be easier in case of rain (a very likely situation) because Wayne will have not much in front of him. I would like to have a nice, clean, dry race, though, so we can get the championship here."
Angelelli will most likely not get his clean, dry race as it has rained here almost constantly since Thursday afternoon. Although many of the drivers may not welcome the weather, the locals near this historic 3.27-mile road course are happy about the rain. The area has experienced near-drought conditions during the previous two-weeks.
The drivers of the two TRG Pontiac GTO.Rs that race in the GT class of the Rolex Series are not bothered by the rain, either. They spent most of the practice sessions (also held in wet conditions) working on their traction control. The teams are satisfied with the performance of the systems and that of the cars in general. Both cars are carrying a Grand American-mandated weight of 100 extra pounds. The cars also had the weight at the previous race at Watkins Glen but still managed a 1-2 finish with the #65 GTO.R of Marc Bunting and Andy Lally coming in first. That car is now in front of all the GT cars as TRG is leading in points.
"Our Pontiac GTO.R is looking very good for the race," said Bunting. "The car is now set up for racing in the wet, so we are ready for more rain if it comes tomorrow. We're happy about starting in first; that will definitely help us. Our previous experience here testing won't hurt either and if it dries up tomorrow we'll know how to handle that as well. We'll just try hard and hope we will finish in a position that will give us enough points to help us win the championship."
Sunday's VIR 400, the second-to-last race in the 2005 season of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series will be televised live on SPEED TV at 1:00 p.m. EDT.