Mid-Ohio: GM Racing qualifying report

Autohaus Pontiac GXP.R on Pole at Mid-Ohio GAINSCO Pontiac on front row in DP Lexington, Ohio, June 20, 2008 -- The Autohaus Pontiac GXP.R of Lawson Aschenbach and Tim Lewis Jr. will start from pole position in GT for tomorrow's round seven...

Autohaus Pontiac GXP.R on Pole at Mid-Ohio
GAINSCO Pontiac on front row in DP

Lexington, Ohio, June 20, 2008 -- The Autohaus Pontiac GXP.R of Lawson Aschenbach and Tim Lewis Jr. will start from pole position in GT for tomorrow's round seven of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 to be run at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The GAINSCO Pontiac Riley will start on the front row in the Daytona Prototype (DP) category.

Aschenbach and the No. 72 Autohaus Pontiac team were able to hit on the right setup to secure the pole position for the tomorrow's two-hour-and-forty-five minute race. Aschenbach ran a time of 1:25.627 good for the team's second pole on the year. Lewis had the pole for the Lime Rock Park race on Memorial Day.

"The car was good right from the out lap," Aschenbach said. "The track had become greasy since this morning. It took me a few laps to figure out the pace and then I was able to do a couple of solid laps and get our second pole of the year. I was able to back up the pole time within a few tenths. The Pontiac was flawless in qualifying and the Autohaus guys put a good car under me."

Andrew Davis in the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R will start behind the No. 72 for tomorrow's 5:00 p.m. ET start. Davis put in a time of 1:25.785. The team struggled in practice but got the Pontiac right for qualifying. Davis and teammate Robin Liddell will be looking for their third win on the season.

"I am quite pleased with our qualifying effort," Davis said. "We struggled this morning. The guys really worked hard all day to the car right for qualifying. The car was good during the short run, now we have to prove it out in the two sessions tomorrow. We will focus on the race setup with our time on the track in the tomorrow's two sessions."

Kelly Collins will start his No. 07 Banner Pontiac from the fourth row. Collins posted a time of 1:26.070 good for seventh on the grid. Collins will hand over to Paul Edwards. The duo are the current GT points leaders.

"There wasn't anything magical about the car," Collins said. "We have a keep-up car right now. The last four laps of the session the car was really sliding around in the rear. We have to work on the setup more tomorrow and get the car better for the race. We have two more sessions; the guys will get the car right for the race."

Mike Forest had the qualifying duties in the No. 32 PR1 Motorsports GXP.R. Forest put in a time of 1:26.382 and will start 11th. Forest is partnered this weekend with recent high school graduate Patrick Barrett.

"It is a tight field," Forest said. "The weekend really started out good for us. The guys had the car pretty close on the setup and we could spend maximum time on the track. The car is really pretty good, we still have some understeer. I am having a little struggle getting the car down to the apex. The Pontiac is real stable in the brake zone and through the back section of the track."

Marc Bunting is partnered with Jan Magnussen this weekend in the No. 06 Banner Pontiac. Bunting put in a qualifying time of 1:26.902 and will start from the seventh row.

"The qualifying session was not what I was hoping for," Bunting said. "I was able to get one good lap. The car is really good through the technical session. We are starting kind of far back so I will be looking forward to passing some people."

In the Daytona Prototypes, Jon Fogarty had the pole until he was eclipsed in the waning moments of the session relegating him to the number two starting position. Fogarty put in a time of 1:17.885 and will start from the outside of the front row. Fogarty and teammate Alex Gurney are the defending race winners from 2007.

""With the resurfacing recently of the track it takes a long time for the pace to come so I knew it was going to be important for us to be around at the end of qualifying," Fogarty said. "On my fourth flying lap I completely destroyed my right front tire when I locked it up on the back straightaway. I feel bad about that but I think there is more potential in the car than what we saw in qualifying. But good job for the Brumos guys. I didn't realize it was their third of the year. That's enough for them."

Nic Jonsson will start fifth behind the wheel of the Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola. Jonsson put in a time of 1:18.612. Jonsson is teamed with Ricardo Zonta.

"We can't run a lot of downforce on this car," Jonsson said. "If we were to run the amount of downforce we want we end up being quite a bit slower down the straights. The car is definitely getting better. This is the best we have qualified so far this year. The car is confidence inspiring in the technical section and in traffic which important for the race."

Michael Valiante was at the wheel of the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac and put in a time of 1:18.789 that will have him starting from the sixth position. Valiante will turn over the Riley to teammate Max Angelelli.

"We've just got to keep on improving the car," Valiante said. "That was everything the car had for qualifying today. But we've been making gains over the course of the weekend, so I think we'll have a really good race car even though the qualifying pace wasn't the quickest. It hasn't really mattered this year where people have started. You can start from the back and win. Most important is to make sure we have a good-handling car that's going to last us the whole race. And you never know what's going to happen because we'll have GT cars out there with us, as well. With traffic in the mix, there's going to be a lot going on tomorrow."

Eric van de Poele in the team No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac qualified 13th with a time of 1:19.627. Van de Poele is partnered with team owner Tracy Krohn.

"It was ok," van de Poele said. "Like usual we are little behind on the getting the setup right on this new car. Every track is new for this Lola. We have a little bit of oversteer we need to fix. We are closing the gap every weekend to the front cars. We have two sessions tomorrow to do some work. We lose some time down the straight and we are pretty good in the turns. We will use tomorrow on having a good car for the race."

Jim Matthews qualified the Riley-Matthews Pontiac in 16th with a time of 1:20.158. Matthews and teammate Marc Goossens are currently second in the DP points championship.

"I took my regular qualifying approach," Matthews said. "It takes me a few laps to get up to speed on the balance of the car qualifying. The car was a little pushy and it took me a few circuits to be able to drive around it. The car just had less grip upfront in the corners. We are getting off of the turns fast, but just can't turn in that well."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Nic Jönsson
Teams Krohn Racing , Stevenson Motorsports