SunTrust Team Qualifies Seventh As Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Dries for EMCO Gears Classic Qualifying Lexington, Ohio (June 23, 2006) -- While rain plagued Thursday evening and Friday morning practice sessions at Mid-Ohio, the weather...
SunTrust Team Qualifies Seventh As Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Dries for EMCO Gears Classic Qualifying
Lexington, Ohio (June 23, 2006) -- While rain plagued Thursday evening and Friday morning practice sessions at Mid-Ohio, the weather cleared long enough to allow teams to qualify for Saturday's EMCO Gears Classic, the ninth of 14 races in the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series.
In a tight qualifying effort, Jan Magnussen drove the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley to the seventh position on the grid, recording a 1:21.492 lap time. While the lap time was faster than any the SunTrust team recorded in practice, it was only good enough for seventh in a hotly contested qualifying session; six cars finished within one second of each other, and nine within two seconds.
"It was very, very frustrating because I couldn't get a clear lap at all," said Magnussen, who is coming off his third straight victory at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans in the GT1 class driving a Corvette. "I kept getting caught up in traffic and when I had my best chance for a quick lap, I went to pass the Krohn car at the end of the straight and I didn't see the yellow flag, so I had to back right out of it and lock the wheels. Every lap I had traffic and just couldn't catch a break."
The SunTrust Pontiac Riley team is aiming for a strong showing at Mid-Ohio in hopes of bolstering the teams' chances of back-to-back Grand American DP championships. With 260 points, the SunTrust team currently sits only 27 points behind the first-place No. 01 CompUSA/Chip Ganassi team, who have 287 points; the Chip Ganassi team is seven points ahead of the second-place No. 19 Playboy/Uniden Racing team, with 280 points. So far in 2006, the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac team has captured one victory (at Laguna Seca), two podium finishes and three Top Five finishes in their pursuit for another championship.
"We were hoping to qualify in the top five today, but we'll compete from wherever we are," said SunTrust car owner/driver Wayne Taylor. "There are a few adjustments we'll make to the car in morning practice and we'll be ready tomorrow."
While the first two days at Mid-Ohio were wet, Saturday's forecast calls for clear skies.
"Everybody has to contend with the same elements for the race, but I'm sure everyone would say they want it to be dry," said Max Angelelli, who is nicknamed the "Ax" for his ability to slice through traffic. "Our car is great in both conditions, but I prefer a dry race."
Friday Practice Session #1: With 25 cars on the track and constant light rain, Magnussen and the SunTrust team recorded the third-best time of the session, a lap time of 1:44.549 at 147.012 mph. J Between practice sessions, the SunTrust team used the downtime to practice their pit stops; the team's top time was just over 21 seconds.
Friday Practice Session #2: A black flag interrupted the second practice session, but the SunTrust team was able to put in a few laps, including the seventh best of the session, as Angelelli rounded the track in 1:44.532 at 142.36 mph. J Friday Practice Session #3: In the final practice session, Magnussen recorded the teams' best time of the day, a 1:23.598 lap time with a top speed of 162.8 mph.
The EMCO Gears Classic at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the ninth of 14 races, will have a 250-mile/111-lap/two and three-quarter hour format on the 2.258-mile course. Speed Channel coverage of the race will be aired tape delayed at 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 25.