RUHLMAN QUALIFIES SECOND FOR FINAL COUNTDOWN TO DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
MONTREAL (Aug. 26, 2005) -- Randy Ruhlman qualified second for tomorrow's Trans-Am race at the Montreal Grand Prix with a time of 1:40.649. The top two in qualifying reflect the top two in points as Ruhlman in the Preformed Line Products Derhaag Motorsports Corvette scored second and Klaus Graf won the pole. With Graf and Ruhlman in a one-two battle for the title, this will be the final showdown for the 2005 Driver's Championship.
Ruhlman said about the day of practice and qualifying, "We came out pretty good. There was a lack of grip in the first session, and then in the second, we lost a clutch midway through, so we didn't get a lot of data to go by. The car felt good as the track gripped up, we had gone in the right direction, and the track felt much better with some rubber on it."
"I had a good lap time in the first part of qualifying, and after the red flag, Jim [Derhaag] sent me out and said 'Go get the three points!' I gave it all I had and we had the pole. Then Klaus went out and smoked one. Back in the pit lane, all I could do is look at Jim and say "I didn't have that!'" joked Ruhlman.
"The points battle is tight, but we still need to run a heads-up race. I owe it to my team. They've done a good job all year and it is my job to go out, drive as hard as I can, and we'll see where that gets us," finished Ruhlman.
Ruhlman took fourth place in last week's Trans-Am race at Road America, and Graf got the win and maximum points. That win gave Graf control of the Driver's Championship points lead, a lead that Ruhlman had held since the first race in April at Long Beach. For Ruhlman to win the Championship, Ruhlman must take the win tomorrow and Graf finish sixth or worse.
Randy Ruhlman won the prestigious Trans-Am season opener at Long Beach Grand Prix in April and followed that up with a second place finish at Portland International Raceway. His win from the back at the Cleveland Grand Prix was his third consecutive podium. Ruhlman has thirteen top five Trans-Am finishes in the last fifteen races.
Ruhlman finished third overall in the 2004 Trans-Am Driver's Championship in what had been, until this year, the closest points battle ever in Trans-Am history. Last year, Ruhlman scored seven straight top five finishes, including three podiums: a second at Road America, another second at Toronto, and a third at Infineon. He was the pole sitter for the Road America race and sat on the front row for the Cleveland Grand Prix. Randy Ruhlman is fourth in Top Ten finishes in Trans-Am history.