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Road Atlanta: GT qualifying report

Milner Gives Aston Martin First SPEED GT Pole in Atlanta BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct. 2, 2008) -- Tommy Milner, of Leesburg, Va., captured his first-career SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship pole position and the first for Aston ...

Milner Gives Aston Martin First SPEED GT Pole in Atlanta

BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct. 2, 2008) -- Tommy Milner, of Leesburg, Va., captured his first-career SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship pole position and the first for Aston Martin in preparation for Friday's Road Atlanta SPEED GT Finale Presented by Foametix®, part of the Petit Le Mans Presented by the Totally-New MAZDA6. Brandon Davis, of Huntington Beach, Calif., will start second.

Milner turned a fastest lap of 1:26.088 (106.216 mph) around the 12-turn, 2.54-mile circuit in the No. 21 Rahal Letterman Racing Aston Martin DB9. Milner previously held the top qualifying mark for an Aston Martin, starting fourth this year at Mid-Ohio in the team's debut.

Ritch Marziale, of Tempe, Ariz., provisionally held the pole position, but his times were disallowed after post-qualifying technical inspection revealed the wing height on his No. 56 All-Cut Concrete Cutting Dodge Viper was out of spec.

"I felt good about our car going into qualifying," Milner said. "I felt okay with the balance in qualifying itself, so it wasn't where I wanted it to be, but it can't be too bad if it's on pole."

Davis, who was on the pole last week at Thunderbolt Raceway, was just one hundredth of a second away from his second-straight pole in the No. 10 ACS/Sun Microsystems Ford Mustang Cobra. His 1:26.098 (106.204 mph) was good enough for the outside of the front row.

Milner identified Davis as one of his chief combatants in Friday's race.

"Brandon [Davis], who's now starting next to me, [Randy] Pobst and [Andy] Pilgrim will be fast for sure," he said. "I'm still getting used to this series and these tires. I'm still relatively new, but I think I've got a pretty good handle on what needs to happen tomorrow."

Milner learned of his promotion to the pole while waiting to practice in his American Le Mans Series car, away from his SPEED GT team.

"I'm sure the team's happy about it. They were pumped up going into qualifying. I'm definitely excited to hear we're on pole. Qualifying is one thing, but the race is what we're here for, so I hope we can make it happen in the race."

Andy Pilgrim, of Boca Raton, Fla., kept his championship hopes alive in No. 8 Remington Shaving Cadillac CTS-V after turning a best time of 1:26.292 (105.965 mph) to start third. Dino Crescentini qualified his No. 4 Centric Parts/Stoptech Porsche 911 GT3 fourth for the second-straight week with a time of 1:26.582 (105.610 mph).

Point leader Randy Pobst needs to finish 25th or better Friday to secure his second-consecutive Drivers' Championship, regardless of what challenger Pilgrim does. If Pilgrim wins, but does not lead the most laps, all Pobst would need to do is start the race and would clinch with a 26th place result. If Pilgrim does not win, Pobst clinches by simply starting the race. Pobst will start his No. 1 K-PAX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 fifth in the race.

Eric Curran (Chevrolet Corvette), Michael McCann (Cadillac CTS-V), Jason Daskalos (Dodge Viper), Tim McKenzie (Porsche 911 GT3) and Michael Galati (Porsche 911 GT3) completed the top 10 in qualifying.

Friday's Road Atlanta SCCA SPEED GT Finale Presented by Foametix makes its standing start Friday at 12:20 p.m. (EDT). Live lap notes and timing are available through www.world-challenge.com. The race will be broadcast Oct. 15 at 1 p.m. (EDT) on SPEED.

-credit: scca pro racing

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Series PWC
Drivers Andy Pilgrim , Randy Pobst , Michael Galati , Eric Curran , Michael McCann , Tim McKenzie , Dino Crescentini , Tommy Milner , Ritch Marziale