Sears Point: Qualifying report

WALLACE PUTS NO. 20 DYSON RACING LOLA ON POLE FOR INFINEON TECHNOLOGIES GRAND PRIX OF SONOMA PRESENTED BY RAVENSWOOD WINERY Andy Wallace put the No. 20 Dyson Racing Lola on the pole for Sunday's ALMS race at Infineon. It was his third career ...

WALLACE PUTS NO. 20 DYSON RACING LOLA ON POLE FOR INFINEON TECHNOLOGIES GRAND PRIX OF SONOMA PRESENTED BY RAVENSWOOD WINERY

Andy Wallace put the No. 20 Dyson Racing Lola on the pole for Sunday's ALMS race at Infineon. It was his third career pole.

Sonoma, Calif. - For the third straight event, an overall track record fell in qualifying for an American Le Mans Series event. Andy Wallace put the No. 20 Dyson Racing Lola EX257 AER on the pole Saturday for the Infineon Technologies Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Ravenswood Winery, Round 5 of the ALMS, at Infineon Raceway.

Wallace's time of 1:21.688 was about 0.7 seconds faster than Marco Werner's time from 2004. JJ Lehto, Werner's teammate, put the No. 1 Champion Racing Audi R8 on the outside front row. Lehto was 0.073 seconds behind Wallace, and he was followed by the No. 16 Dyson Racing Lola of Butch Leitzinger.

It was Wallace's third career ALMS pole and his first since Portland last year.

"This feels great, I'm really, really happy," Wallace said. "When we rolled the car off the truck this weekend the car was good straight away. We pulled some info from out last session to help us out for qualifying. I can't thank the team enough for their hard work. I caught traffic early, and I was hoping the tires wouldn't catch too soon, but they didn't. I played my fast the best I could. I tried to run the back section flat out and at the last second I lifted."

Actually, the four fastest qualifiers went under Werner's time from last year. Leitzinger set a record early in the session, followed immediately by Lehto and then Wallace. Emanuele Pirro, who qualified the No. 2 Champion Racing Audi fourth, also went below Werner's mark later in the session.

This is the second time a Dyson Racing entry has started on the pole, the other when James Weaver put the No. 16 Lola on the pole at Mid-Ohio. He and Leitzinger went on to win that race.

"I don't think taking on big manufacturers is a new thing for us," said team owner Rob Dyson. "We started doing that in 1985 when we went against the Hobart Factory Porsche team racing the GTPs. It feels good that the crew can put together a great car and Andy can put together a great lap when he needs too. It feels really good sticking it to the (Audis)."

Clint Field won his fifth career pole in LMP2 and his second straight at Infineon with a 1:25.290. He will team with Liz Halliday in the No. 37 Intersport Racing Lola B05/40. This is the second time this year the pair have teamed up, the first coming in Intersport's No. 30 Lola B2K/40.

The No. 10 Miracle Motorsports Courage C65 will start second in class, a little more than 0.6 seconds back of the Intersport entry.

"We had quite a few clear laps, which was good," Field said. "Our car has been handling well all weekend. I put in a few good ones. Jeff (Bucknum) was getting some good ones, so I decided to go back out to try again."

Ron Fellows is on the GT1 class pole at Infineon for the first time since 2002 in the No. 3 Corvette Racing C6-R.

In GT1, the duo of Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell in the No. 3 Corvette Racing C6-R started their push for a fifth straight class victory at Infineon with its second pole of the season. Fellows posted a fast lap of 1:28.528, good enough to best the No. 4 sister car of Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta by 0.079 seconds.

"Two of those wins (previously at Infineon) were pit strategy," Fellows said. "The guys made great calls to get us in front. I didn't know we had such a streak going on. We're only as good as our last race where we finished second and I got into the tires."

Fellows moved back into a tie with Beretta for the ALMS' career lead for poles with 15. It also marked Fellows' first pole at Infineon since 2002 and only his second at the track.

In each of Saturday's two practice sessions, the No. 3 car was second in class to the No. 4 entry.

"We were sandbagging all through practice," Fellows said as laughter erupted in the room. "It was nice to get (the pole) here because I love coming to this track. It's a track that for awhile I didn't think I did a good job at. As competitive as the Corvette Racing camp is, we try very hard."

Timo Bernhard earned his second GT2 pole of the year Saturday when he put the No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche on the class front row Saturday.

Timo Bernhard won his second GT2 pole of the season with a lap of 1:34.263, about 0.02 seconds slower than the class qualifying record held by his teammate in the No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche, Romain Dumas.

Bernhard set the time on his first flying lap of the session in an effort to conserve tires for Sunday's race.

"I'm very happy to achieve pole again," said Bernhard, who also won the class pole at Mid-Ohio. "It's a good start for the race tomorrow. I tried to do everything I could to save the tires for the race tomorrow. I think the race will be decided at the end of the second stint."

The No. 31 Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Porsche of Patrick Long and Jorg Bergmeister will start second after Bergmeister came up about 0.3 seconds shy of Bernhard's time. Third was the Infineon-based No. 44 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche of Lonnie Pechnik and Seth Neiman.

The Infineon Technologies Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Ravenswood Winery, is set for 11 a.m. PDT Sunday at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. CBS Sports will have television coverage from 3 to 5 p.m. EDT. American Le Mans Radio and Live Timing and Scoring can be found at www.americanlemans.com.

-americanlemans.com

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Andy Wallace , Butch Leitzinger , James Weaver , Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Rob Dyson , Oliver Gavin , Jörg Bergmeister , Timo Bernhard , Clint Field , Romain Dumas , Lonnie Pechnik , Olivier Beretta , Liz Halliday , Alex Job , Emanuele Pirro , JJ Lehto
Teams Corvette Racing , Dyson Racing , Alex Job Racing , Flying Lizard Motorsports