Wallace breaks drought to take pole in Portland

Wallace breaks drought to take pole in Portland

Qualifying in Portland is hot. How hot? A sweltering 104 degrees trackside, with the track surface even hotter at 147 degrees. Andy Wallace, driving the ...

Qualifying in Portland is hot. How hot? A sweltering 104 degrees trackside, with the track surface even hotter at 147 degrees. Andy Wallace, driving the #20 Dyson Racing AER Lola set the tone for qualifying. By the end of the session, Wallace was on the pole with a best lap of 1:04.750.

#20 Dyson Racing Lola EX257 AER: Chris Dyson, Andy Wallace.
Photo by Jonathan Heiliger.
He missed the track record by 6/10ths, but still beat out teammates James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger in the #16 Dyson Racing AER Lola and the typically quick JJ Lehto and Marco Werner in the #38 Champion Racing Audi R8.

Although Andy Wallace has won numerous races, today was the first pole position he has earned since 1999. Wallace attributed his success to the work the team has done with Goodyear and to the hot weather. "Goodyear has been improving the tires for hot conditions which gave us an advantage today - if it cools tomorrow, that won't help our situation," said Wallace.

Dyson's Racing #16 AER Lola driven by James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger will start second, while the Champion Racing Audi R8 of JJ Lehto and Marco Werner sits third with a time of 1:05.185.

Clint Field in his Intersport Racing Lola B2K/40-Judd earned his second consecutive pole in P2 with a fast qualifying time of 1.09:921. Team Bucknum starts second in P2, qualifying at 1:11.636, a repeat of their respective starting positions from the prior round at Infineon Raceway, in Sonoma, California.

#4 Corvette Racing Corvette C5-R: Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta.
Photo by Jonathan Heiliger.
Working his way through the field, Olivier Beretta qualified his #4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C5-R on the GTS pole. His fast lap of 1:09.981 simultaneously smashed a 1999 track record set by former co-driver Tommy Archer in a Viper GTSR. Despite the heat, Beretta boldly stated it was easy to make the lap time. The #3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C5-R driven by Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell celebrated not only placing second but also O'Connell's 42nd birthday.

The #63 ACEMCO Saleen S7R of Johnny Mowlem and Terry Borcheller took third with a time of 1:10.912, while keeping close to the #3 Chevrolet Corvette C5-R throughout the session.

Looking to repeat their performance from Infineon Raceway, the Alex Job Racing Porsches have been fast all week in Portland. Alex Job Racing won its 22nd consecutive GT class pole after Romain Dumas drove the #24 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR to a fast lap of 1:13.674.

#24 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR: Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb.
Photo by Jonathan Heiliger.
His teammates Timo Bernhard and Jorg Bergmeister will start alongside in the team's #23 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR with a lap time of 1:14.027. Dumas focuses on the simple things, saying, "I just needed one good lap. With the temps today that's all you need is one good lap." Dumas's statement is backed up by the fact that he got his pole time in the second of 4 laps.

Tomorrow's cooler temperatures, forecasted to be in the high 80's, will make engineers and drivers think hard about tire choice and strategy during morning practice. Portland International Raceway is a short circuit, only 1.967 miles long and 12 turns, which forces a lot of passing. However, opportunities may be limited, as Olivier Beretta said, "It's a question of where you take it. You don't want to go offline to let them pass or you'll pickup dirt [on the track surface]."

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Andy Wallace , Butch Leitzinger , James Weaver , Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Tommy Archer , Terry Borcheller , Oliver Gavin , Jörg Bergmeister , Marco Werner , Clint Field , Johnny Mowlem , Marc Lieb , Romain Dumas , Olivier Beretta , Alex Job , Chris Dyson , JJ Lehto
Teams Corvette Racing , Dyson Racing , Alex Job Racing