LITTLE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN ZWART, DONNER AND MILLEN IN HPSS AS QUALIFYING IS RUN UNDER PERFECT CONDITIONS AT PIKES PEAK
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - July 2 -- The trend from practice continued in today's qualifying session in High Performance Showroom Stock as three unlikely foes - a Porsche Twin Turbo, a Nissan Skyline, and a Subaru Impreza WRX - are less than two seconds apart for the 77th annual Pikes Peak International Hillclimb scheduled for this Sunday, July 4.
All three drivers - Jeff Zwart, David Donner, and Rhys Millen respectively - are experienced Pikes Peak competitors and class winners, but the amazing part of this close battle is that their cars are so different.
"I can't believe that our rear-engined Porsche Twin Turbo, the latest high-tech offering from Nissan, and a full-blown Group N rally car from Subaru are so tightly bunched. Frankly, I thought I would be third after the qualifying session, especially after I lost several seconds on the run trying to get good traction through the picnic grounds," said Zwart, who is seeking an unprecedented sixth straight class win - and third win in this car.
Qualifying times for the top three cars in High Performance Showroom Stock were as follows:
David Donner - Subaru Impreza WRX - 5:22.44 Jeff Zwart - Porsche Twin Turbo - 5:23.42 Rhys Millen- Nissan Skyline GTR - 5:23.82
Zwart feels more comfortable than ever going into Sunday's race because the conditions on the mountain have remained constant during the week, and should be perfect for Sunday's event.
"In past years, we have spent time setting up the car in the rain, only for it to snow on race day. Other times, we have qualified in perfect conditions, and encountered hail during the race. This year, the road has been perfect all week, and looks to remain that way for the event," he said.
Because of the perfect conditions, extra time has been spent fine tuning the hand grooving and air pressure settings on the BFGoodrich R-1 tires. The right combination of grip and stability will go a long way towards a potential win on Sunday.
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will be "webcast" live this year for the first time, starting at 10:00 AM (Mountain time) on July 4, with feature still photos every three minutes, results from each division, and live audio commentary from KRDO-AM radio, which is broadcasting the event locally. The webcast, as well as all pre-race and post-race information, will appear on the official Pikes Peak web site www.ppihc.com.
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is held annually on July 4 in cooperation with the City of Colorado Springs and the U.S. Forest Service, and is the second oldest, continuously running auto race in North America. Its 156-turn, 12.42-mile course on a groomed gravel highway to the 14,110-ft. summit of Pikes Peak is open to the public year-round.