LANGHORNE REIGNS AT LAGUNA SECA BARBER DODGE FINALE MONTEREY, Calif. (October 24) - He didn't do a rain dance, but Will Langhorne of Warrenton, Va. was singing in the rain after the 30-minute first qualifying session for Round 12 of the Barber Dodge Pro Series race at Laguna Seca Raceway Saturday morning.
Langhorne nabbed the Barber Dodge pole with a new series track record lap with a 1:25.424 at 94.315 mph, then watched happily as the skies opened up with rain showers that disrupted action at the VISA Sportscar Championships the rest of the day. The downpour forced the drivers onto a changed, though dry track, for the second qualifying session, and the top five times stood.
"It was really a nerve-wracking session," said Langhorne, who is also driving a Porsche 911 Turbo in the FIA GT2 class for the weekend. "The track had a little bit of dust everywhere, and the curbs that we could normally use were filled with water. It was the first time it ever rained at Laguna when I've been here, and it allowed me to stay on top."
Langhorne's time, which was posted near the end of the session, clipped almost half a second off the previous series track record established by Todd Snyder (1:25.805/93.697 mph) during Round 9 in September. It was the first pole position of the season for Langhorne, who won Round 6 at Grand Rapids in July.
Snyder, driving the Zippo Motorsports car, kept the heat on Langhorne for most of the session as the two drivers gradually lowered their times while warming the tires and burning off fuel. Ultimately, Snyder had to settle for the second starting slot with a best time of 1:25.770 at 93.935 mph. The starting position provided a boost to the Barber Dodge championship aspirations of Snyder, who entered the weekend holding a slim 144-142 margin over Jeff Simmons of East Granby, Conn.
"Certainly, there are a lot of things that can happen," Snyder said. "I was quite shocked with the qualifying...it's a little flip-flop on the times as far as who's right up there. The best thing for us to start ahead of Jeff, and a few guys in between us is even better yet."
For his part, Simmons will have to contend with the sixth starting position, despite the fact that he was the fastest driver (1:26.369/93.283 mph) in the second session. If the drivers should end the race where they start, Simmons would win the championship by 152-151, as the Barber Dodge points system counts each driver's 10 best finishes. But Simmons is under no pretenses that maintaining his position will be enough to capture the crown.
"If he wins, I have to finish third which is why I have to push really hard," Simmons said. "I have to try to get up front early in the race, when everybody else is still sorting themselves out and make up a few positions. I'll take my time after the start once it gets a little more strung out, and if there are any more guys I need to pick off, I'll have to pick them off one at a time."
Alex Gurney (1:26.271/93.389 mph), who won the pole in Round 11 last week at Homestead, will start third, followed by Homestead race winner Nilton Rossoni (1:26.323/93.333 mph). Eric Tresslar (1:26.327/93.329 mph) of Denver earned his best grid position of the year with the fifth spot, followed by Simmons.
Samer Hindi (1:26.413/93.236 mph) of Los Angeles also had season-best effort to earn the seventh starting position, as did eighth-place John McCaig (1:26.447/93.199 mph) of Victoria, B.C. Jamie Menninga (1:26.481/93.163 mph) of Pella, Ia. and Rocky Moran Jr. (1:26.527/93.113 mph) of Coto de Caza, Calif. completed the top 10.
Starting order for Sunday's Barber Dodge Pro Series race at the FIA GT VISA Sportscar Championships at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif. Qualifying position, car number, driver, hometown or country, lap time and average miles per hour around the 2.21-mile, 14-turn road course. All cars are identical Reynard Dodge V-6, open-wheel, single-seat race cars on Michelin racing tires.
1 76 Will Langhorne/Warrenton, Va. 1:25.424 94.315 2 11 Todd Snyder/Sheffield, Mass. 1:25.770 93.935 3 27 Alex Gurney/Newport Beach, Ca. 1:26.271 93.389 4 36 Nilton Rossoni/Cuitiba, Brazil 1:26.323 93.333 5 22 Eric Tresslar/Denver, Colo. 1:26.327 93.329 6 21 Jeff Simmons/East Granby, Conn. 1:26.369 93.283 7 5 Samer Hindi/Los Angeles, Calif. 1:26.413 93.236 8 55 John McCaig/Victoria, B.C., Can 1:26.447 93.199 9 2 Jamie Menninga/Pella, Iowa 1:26.481 93.163 10 71 Rocky Moran, Jr./Coto de Caza, Ca 1:26.527 93.113 11 6 Peter Boss/Narragansett, R.I. 1:26.567 93.070 12 26 Nicolas Rondet/Sao Paulo, Brazil 1:26.571 93.066 13 25 Townsend Bell/Los Altos Hills, Ca.1:26.674 92.955 14 4 Thomas Schie/Oslo, Norway 1:26.715 92.911 15 85 Brian Pelke/Lansing, Ill. 1:26.834 92.784 16 52 Jon Fogarty/Portola Valley, Calif.1:26.902 92.711 17 18 Giovanni Anapoli/Italy 1:26.944 92.667 18 15 Memo Rojas, Jr./Mexico 1:26.992 92.615 20 31 Iradj Alexander-David/Switzerland 1:27.098 92.503 21 40 Tom Woods/Rancho Cordova, Ca. 1:27.131 92.468 22 32 Sepp Koster/The Netherlands 1:27.132 92.467 23 17 Matt Plumb/Unionville, Pa. 1:27.150 92.448 24 66 Tom Fogarty/San Francisco. Ca. 1:27.434 92.147 25 33 Todd Lamb/Royal Oak, Mich. 1:28.315 91.228 26 88 Randy Puro/Emeryville, Ca. 1:28.667 90.866 27 23 Jon Vannini/Hillsborough, Ca. 1:28.900 90.628 28 77 Scott Mayer/Franklin, Wis. 1:29.120 90.404 29 44 Michael Morris/Dallas, Texas 1:29.748 89.771 30 9 Brent Sherman/Northbrook, Ill. 1:29.680 89.839 31 16 Salvatore Lombardo/Brooklyn, NY 1:33.117 86.523