Plumb, Galati take poles at Mid-Ohio

Matt Plumb quietly waited out his fellow challengers in the final nine minutes of the Touring Car qualifying session in pit lane. The RealTime Racing driver parked the Acura when the red flag to stop the qualifying and did not venture back onto the track when the green flag waved again.

Matt Plumb.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
His time of 1:34.160 withstood the challenge to hand Plumb his first career pole in the SCCA SPEED World Challenge series. To top it off, the young man now holds the Mid-Ohio Touring Car track record. Plumb shattered the record set last year by Chuck Hemmingson. In all fairness to Hemmingson, the record was set on a very damp 2.25-mile road course.

"We got it done early," said Plumb. "This team has the best of everything and Peter (Cunningham) is a proven winner. It was my decision to not go back out, I know that the peak performance for the tires and for getting a good lap was early.

"There was no reason to beat up the tires.  I knew I had put my best foot
forward on that lap, it was a decent lap.  This (career pole) is a
confidence builder.  I know I can run up front."

Tecmark Autosport's Nic Jonsson took the outside pole spot with a time of 1:34.299 in his BMW. Pumb's two teammates, Peter Cunningham and Pierre Kleinubing will start third and fifth, respectively.

Bill Auberlen finished fourth in qualifying today. The wily veteran racer is looking to win his fourth straight World Challenge race later today in his Turner Motorsport BMW.

The reason for the red flag was a blown engine.

The teams and drivers have prepared for today's race as the GT cars qualified. The Touring Car race will start today at 4:40 p.m.

Home advantage?

The Audi R6s were given 100 extra pounds of weight and yet, that did not slow down the man who took his home track pole position or his teammate who will start next to him on the front row.

Michael Galati (#2 Audi RS 6 Competition).
Photo by Tom Haapanen.
Michael Galati won his 21st career pole plus a new track record at a place he is very familiar with, "I know this track, I live nearby and have raced here many times."

Galati took the pole early in the session with a time at 1:27.956; his teammate Randy Pobst was just 0.062-seconds adrift. Neither let up. "We push each other, we never let up," commented Galati. "We are both professional competitors."

Champion Racing's Galati broke the record he set in an Audi S4 back in 2002. The team accepted the weight addition and simply, "We knew we had a good car and where the additional weight will come into play, where it will affect on performance," explained Galati.

"We still have the advantage coming out of the corners; going into the turns will be where the weight will be a factor. We just have to be more patient, it will be a give and take, like a see-saw - that is what you will see during the race."

Galati described the Audi exiting a corner: "We come out so much quicker, like a bullet."

The GT World Challenge drivers will race on Sunday at 10:10 a.m.