KLAUS GRAF LEADS TRANS-AM QUALIFYING FOR MOLSON INDY MONTREAL
MONTREAL, Quebec (August 26, 2005) 2005 Rookie-of-the-Year, Klaus Graf led Trans-Am qualifying for the Molson Indy Montreal. The 30 minute session saw both championship contenders atop the speed charts, in the end Gra f captured his fifth pole of the season while Randy Ruhlman wound up second. Setting a time of one minute, 39.729 seconds in the No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR, Graf added three bonus points to his championship lead over Ruhlman. The four-time champion, Paul Gentilozzi turned the fourth fastest lap around the 2.747-mile circuit of one minute, 40.701 seconds but will start third after a penalty moves the No. 6 Cytomax Jaguar to the rear of the field. The No. 5 Transporter2 the Movie XKR driven by Tomy Drissi moved to fifth and will start on the front row after the top-five qualifiers are inverted to start the race.
With the German driver's fifth poles of the season, Graf must finish sixth or better to clinch his first championship in North America and Rocketsports sixth. With the championship on the line, the rookie looks to run a smooth race and stay out of trouble. “All I have to do is run with the pack, basically, and try to be smart and just finish the race,” said Graf. “All year the ball has been in my court chasing Randy down and now it is in his corner because he needs to do the best he can to gain as many points as possible and hope for some luck. I can basically sit back and watch the whole thing even though I have to be careful and concentrate the whole race and make sure everything stays together.”
Rocketsports team owner, Gentilozzi was pleased with the way his car handled and will make a few adjustments in preparation for the 100 mile event tomorrow afternoon. Gentilozzi will take the green flag for the 205th time in his Trans-Am career tomorrow. “We are good for the race,” declared Gentilozzi. “The team will set the car up in race mode for the morning warm-up then we'll go ra cing. I would have preferred starting on the front row but after Greg's penalty I'll start from third. It not a problem, we'll get to the front, lead some laps and maybe even win the race.”
Chasing his first win of the 2005 season, the Rockin' Moroccan, Drissi, was disappointed by not setting the fastest qualifying time but is happy with the front row starting position. “I am ready to go hard at it tomorrow in the race,” said Drissi. “We have a few more adjustments to make to the car for morning warm-up but were ready. Starting on the pole will be a big advantage with the track being as challenging as it is. With a little luck we'll complete the deal and be on top of the podium.”
The Trans-Am event during the Molson Indy Montreal is scheduled for Saturday, August 27 at 4:00 pm Eastern Time. Watch the excitement of the championship going down the last lap when SPEED channel airs the event on Sunday, September 18th at 1:00 pm Eastern Time.