Henzler Earns Fifth Pole in Six Tries for Sunday's Porsche Michelin Supercup at Indianapolis; First Event Scheduled for Saturday Afternoon INDIANAPOLIS, June 19 -- For the fifth time in six tries, Wolf Henzler, from Lichtenaeu, Germany, has ...
Henzler Earns Fifth Pole in Six Tries for Sunday's Porsche Michelin Supercup at Indianapolis; First Event Scheduled for Saturday Afternoon
INDIANAPOLIS, June 19 -- For the fifth time in six tries, Wolf Henzler, from Lichtenaeu, Germany, has earned the pole position for a 2004 Porsche Michelin Supercup event, placing his Infineon Team Farnbacher Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car at the front of the grid for Round #6 of the series to run Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as part of the United States Grand Prix Weekend.
As the only one to crack the 1:36-second barrier on the 2.6-mile oval/road course, one might think that he turned the perfect lap, but Henzler said there could be a better time still to come.
"I made several mistakes during my fast lap, and I think there is at least a half-a-second to be earned for a fast race lap," said Henzler, who holds a 28-point lead in the standings over second-place Klaus Graf, also from Germany.
Second place on the grid goes to Henzler's teammate, 23 year-old Dirk Werner, from Kessenbrueck, Germany, only two-tenths of a second in his Infineon Team Farnbacher Porsche. Werner, who sports a second-place finish at Monaco this year as his best finish, likes the Indianapolis track as it really give the driver two different track for each lap.
"The oval and the banking is unique on the series circuit, while the road course gives the driver a chance to get into a rhythm, something unusual in Supercup racing," said Werner.
Third on the grid for Sunday's event is Christian Menzel, a veteran from the German Carrera Cup series and 2002 Alex Job Racing pilot in the American Le Mans Series. Because of the restrictions placed on the suspension settings for Indianapolis because of the banking (cars cannot exceed a certain camber setting on the rear axle), Menzel says the tires only yield on very fast lap, so the driver must get his act together all at once on that lap.
"I have learned from my touring car experience that I have to concentrate on the best lap when the tires are peaking -- you only get that one chance to get a competitive time," said Menzel.
Mark Taylor, Panther Racing IRL regular, is the other factory guest driver, improved his time more than two seconds from yesterday, and moved up three positions from Saturday's grid position to 14th place for Sunday.
When asked if the whole month of May and the Indy 500 experience has helped him this weekend so far, Mark gave a simple answer.
"No. I'm driving a completely different car for the first time, and the track runs in a different direction. My improvement from yesterday is strictly my learning curve from laps run," said Taylor.
Most of the eight invited American guest entries improved their times, including Pat Flanagan, from Laguna Hills, Calif., who was the fastest invited driver qualifiers, bettering his time by more than two seconds and qualifying 18th -- up from 21st yesterda y. The Racer's Group teammate Jim Collier, from Dallas, is 19th on the grid, a second faster than yesterday.
Steve Johnson, from Bristol, Virginia, his the wall entering the front straight-away after qualifying in 22nd position, but the Kelly-Moss Racing team hopes to fix the car before today's first race.
Round #5 and #6 for the world's fastest single-marque international sports car series will take place with two 16-lap races on the 2.605-mile road circuit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The first race starts at 3 p.m. (EST, Indy time) today, June 19, with the second race at 10:40 a.m. Sunday, June 20.
All the competitors will be driving evenly matched 2004 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars, purpose-built racecars manufactured by the Porsche factory on the same assembly line as Porsche's complete line of sports cars for the consumer. The 2004 model features furt her improvements to driver safety and comfort as well as measures to avoid over-revving or overheating of the engine.
Tickets for the United States Grand Prix can be purchased online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, or by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area. Parking and camping information also can be obtain ed through the ticket office.