Watkins Glen: Jeff Segal qualifying report

Segal's one lap wonder impresses in qualifying (Watkins Glen, NY) 8 June 07--Do you remember the guy in class who would show up at the last minute, not having read the homework or participated in class discussions, and then proceed to get the...

Segal's one lap wonder impresses in qualifying

(Watkins Glen, NY) 8 June 07--Do you remember the guy in class who would show up at the last minute, not having read the homework or participated in class discussions, and then proceed to get the best score of anyone on the final exam?

That's pretty much what Jeff Segal did on Friday after he only got one lap in the dying moments of qualifying, but still put it to good use as he scored fifth on the GT class grid, less than one second off the class pole position time for the forty-five car field.

Driving the FXDD Speedsource Mazda RX-8, Segal is making just his second Rolex Sports Car Series start of the season, teaming with Emil Assentato for Saturday's Sahlen's Six Hours at the Glen. The qualifying session didn't look like it was even going to happen, as last-minute repairs to the exhaust system prevented Segal, who does happen to be a straight-A student, from taking to the track until just minutes before the session ended.

But Segal can certainly qualify a car, as he has shown previously with pole position in KONI Challenge competition, and even though he was thrown into a high-pressure situation, he reacted perfectly to get the most out of the Mazda RX-8.

"It was kind of 'an everything that could go wrong, did go wrong' situation because I didn't get out there until just before the session finished, I got slowed down on my one fast lap by a guy who I think thought the session was over and was going slowly, and my radio wasn't even completely attached so I had to deal with that in the car as well!"

Despite the impressive pace in his last-minute qualifying appearance, Segal was still frustrated after the session, knowing that he could have done even better had he had even one more lap to show his full speed.

"This car could have been in the top three no question," said Segal. "But I'm glad I did get out there to qualify, and the fact is this is a long race. The car is strong and this is a great team, so we know we have a chance at a good result tomorrow as long as we can stay out of trouble for the first five and a half hours and then see where we are."

The Sahlen's event will go green at 11:00 AM on Saturday, with Speed Channel bringing exclusive coverage.

-credit: SGM/Segal

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Emil Assentato , Jeff Segal