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Mosport: Team Cadillac GT qualifying notes

Papis and Fellows Qualify in Top Five for Mosport SPEED GT Race Points Leader Pilgrim Qualifies 10th in Rain-Shortened Qualifying Session BOWMANVILLE, Ont., Sept. 3, 2005 - With two drivers in the first five grid positions and all three Cadillac...

Papis and Fellows Qualify in Top Five for Mosport SPEED GT Race
Points Leader Pilgrim Qualifies 10th in Rain-Shortened Qualifying Session

BOWMANVILLE, Ont., Sept. 3, 2005 - With two drivers in the first five grid positions and all three Cadillac CTS-Vs starting in the top 10, Team Cadillac will start the next-to-last round of the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT championship in a strong position. Max Papis turned the quickest lap among the three Team Cadillac entries after a brief rain shower and red flag at Mosport International Raceway effectively shortened the scheduled 20-minute qualifying session to a one-lap shootout.

Papis circled the 2.46-mile road course in 1:23.195 (106.405 mph), placing his black CTS-V third on the grid for today's 30-lap SPEED GT race. Canadian ace Ron Fellows, the unofficial "Mayor of Mosport," will start fifth with a 1:23.357 (106.198 mph) qualifying lap in his first appearance of the season with Team Cadillac. Points leader Andy Pilgrim secured the 10th spot on the grid with a 1:23.864 (105.556 mph) qualifying lap in his Cadillac CTS-V.

Corvettes captured the front row, with Leighton Reese on the pole at 1:22.256 (107.620 mph), and Lou Gigliotti second at 1:23.045 (106.597 mph). Locked in a battle with Cadillac for the SPEED GT manufacturers championship, Porsche's top qualifier is fourth on the grid.

"I felt that my second lap would be the better one, but I backed off to get a little space ahead of me before making a hard run, and then the rain came," said Fellows, who is seeking to repeat his victory for Team Cadillac in last year's Mosport race.

"I have some fast Corvettes and my teammate Max ahead of me, so Turn 1 should be interesting," Fellows noted. "I'll be asking Max for advice on how to get the best possible start."

Papis will start on the inside of the second row, just ahead of his Canadian stablemate.

"I'm going to have Ron Fellows, the master of Mosport, starting right behind me," Papis said with a smile. "It doesn't happen very often that you match Ron at Mosport. I drove the car as hard as I could, and I was going for the pole. It was a very good qualifying effort.

"We worked very hard in practice on long runs, and I'm confident that we have a good race car," Papis reported. "Qualifying is just the beginning; the race is going to be 50 minutes of fire."

Pilgrim, driver of the No. 8 Cadillac CTS-V, rebounded from a spectacular incident in a test session on Thursday. The car was launched 10 feet in the air in the fast Turn 2, landing hard on the grass that lines the track. Pilgrim was uninjured in the accident, and the Team Cadillac crew virtually rebuilt his car, replacing its suspension, body panels and engine. The car was ready to run in the first practice session on Friday morning.

"It was a moment that defined our team and showed what we're made of," said Team Cadillac program manager Dave Spitzer. "The entire crew pitched in and put a massive effort into repairing Andy's race car. We carry a lot of spares in the transporter because you never know when you might need them - and we needed them this weekend. The reward for all the hard work was when Andy ran the fifth quickest time in the next morning's practice session."

The rain shower during qualifying spoiled what might have been a perfect ending to Pilgrim's tale. Carrying 180 pounds of REWARDS weight, he qualified his reborn CTS-V 10th.

"Rain is just one of those things that happens at Mosport," Pilgrim said philosophically. "I definitely would have liked to go out again and tried to improve my qualifying time, but the moisture on the track ended that plan. You have to take into account that 180 pounds of success ballast when you set up the car."

The SPEED GT race at the Grand Prix of Mosport will start at 4 p.m. EDT on Saturday, Sept. 3. The race will be televised on the SPEED Channel on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 1 p.m. EDT.

-gm racing-

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Series PWC
Drivers Max Papis , Ron Fellows , Leighton Reese , Lou Gigliotti