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Portland Touring Car qualifying report

PORTLAND, Ore. (August 4, 2001) -- Bill Auberlen, of Hermosa, Calif., picked up where he left off over two months ago in his first SCCA Pro Racing Speedvision World Challenge Touring Car appearance--on top. He will start from the Superchips Pole...

PORTLAND, Ore. (August 4, 2001) -- Bill Auberlen, of Hermosa, Calif., picked up where he left off over two months ago in his first SCCA Pro Racing Speedvision World Challenge Touring Car appearance--on top. He will start from the Superchips Pole in Sunday's Round Seven race from Portland International Raceway. Neal Sapp, of Ellicott City, Md., and Scotland's David Leslie completed the top three.

Auberlen, who won in a driving rainstorm at Lime Rock Park in May after starting last in the No. 93 H&R Springs/Turner Motorsport/JTD BMW 325i, nearly didn't get a chance to qualify for Sunday's Portland event, as the car would not start at the beginning of the session.

"I was stuck in the paddock for the majority of the qualifying session due to a wiring problem in the kill switch," said Auberlen. "Finally, one of the crew members ran a screwdriver over the connection and it just started."

Auberlen set a fast time of 1:28.705 (78.895 mph) on his second lap--good enough for the pole.

"My experience and seasoning as a racecar driver helped me out a lot," said Auberlen, who returns to the series after missing the last two races. "The key was maintaining my composure while I was waiting to go out there. Some guys would be anxious or frustrated with the problem I had would have gone out there and pushed the car too hard trying to make up for lost time.

"I'm looking forward to the race because this series is one of the best championships around."

Sapp was on top halfway through the session with a 1:28.989 (78.643 mph) and was trying to improve his time on the last lap, but spun in the final corner. He'll line up second in the No. 55 duPont Motorsport BMW 325is. Leslie was on top before Sapp with a time of 1:29.158 (78.494 mph), but contact with another car damaged the rear suspension of his No. 2 Mirko Racing Mazda 626, forcing him to pull off after just two laps.

Taz Harvey, of Danville, Calif., qualified his Honda Civic Si third, followed by Don Salama, of Avon, Conn.

-SCCA/SCCA ProRacing-

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About this article
Series PWC
Drivers Bill Auberlen , David Leslie , Taz Harvey , Don Salama
Teams Turner Motorsport