DUMAS PUTS PENSKE PORSCHE ON DP POLE AT NEW JERSEY; GT ENTRIES LAG BEHIND MILLVILLE, NJ - May 2 - Frenchman Romain Dumas set another milestone for Penske Racing Saturday by grabbing the pole position for Sunday's Verizon Wireless 250 Rolex ...
DUMAS PUTS PENSKE PORSCHE ON DP POLE AT NEW JERSEY; GT ENTRIES LAG BEHIND
MILLVILLE, NJ - May 2 - Frenchman Romain Dumas set another milestone for Penske Racing Saturday by grabbing the pole position for Sunday's Verizon Wireless 250 Rolex Grand-Am Sports Car series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 race at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
In just his third Grand-Am race (excluding a couple of guest Rolex 24 appearances), Dumas outdueled series veteran Scott Pruett in the 15-minute qualifying session, technically setting a 2.250-mile track record (new configuration from last year's race) of one minute, 14.057 seconds at an average speed of 109.375 mph in the #12 Penske Porsche Riley. Pruett's Lexus Riley was 0.208 seconds behind at 1:14.265.
Dumas will team with fellow Porsche works driver Timo Bernhard (Germany) in the two hour, 45 minute timed race that will be broadcast live on SPEED TV from 1-4 pm ET Sunday.
"For sure this is a great pleasure to get the first pole for Penske in Grand-Am," Dumas said. "I knew I had to push and the crew was encouraging me on the radio. I was fastest first, then he (Scott Pruett) went faster, so I pushed and got back ahead."
"Our sponsor, Verizon Wireless, is the sponsor of the race, so we would like to win for them and Mr. (Roger) Penske, who has put us together. We have had good success together, and we would like to win our first Grand-Am race here."
"This is my first time here, but Timo (Bernhard) is the detail man. He studies the tracks and I learn them when I arrive. He showed me two things before we got here - the track map and video of his (pointing to second-place qualifier Scott Pruett) crash here last year. Timo told me not to do that," quipped Dumas.
Dumas/Bernard will be seeking their 23rd international motorsports career victory together since 2003, including 18 in a LMP2 Penske Porsche RS Spyder in American Le Mans Series competition from 2005-8. They are eager to win their first together in Grand-Am.
"We are quite happy," Bernhard said. "We are ready for the race now. We do not know what the weather will be Sunday. We will have to make a decision about race set-up tomorrow morning. A full wet set-up usually doesn't make any sense. We likely will use a medium set- up. We are in good position."
Meanwhile, the two Brumos Porsche Riley cars have struggled all weekend with setup and qualified just 11th and last among the 14 DP entries
Daytona Prototype points leader Darren Law (Phoenix, AZ) qualified the #58 Brumos Porsche 11th at 1:16.367. He will co-drive with David Donohue (Malvern, PA) Sunday. The #59 Brumos Porsche Riley driven by JC France (Daytona Beach, FL), who will team with Joao Barbosa (Portugal), qualified 14th at 1:19.171.
"We have been lost most of the weekend," Law said. "Collectively, we have not been able to figure out how to make the car faster. We're missing something, and we'll talk long into the night and figure it out. We've got the final warm-up session tomorrow morning to try something else."
"We want to protect our points lead, or at least minimize our points loss," Donohue said. "It's a long season, but we can't afford to give away points."
In GT qualifying, the #87 Farnbacher Loles Porsche 911 GT3 Cup was fastest of the Porsche entries, but Leh Keen's (Charleston, SC) lap of 1:22.132 was just fifth best of the 17 GT entries. Keen will co-drive with Dirk Werner (Germany).
The #87 Farnbacher Loles Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry of Eric Lux (Jacksonville, FL) and Bryan Sellers (Charlotte, NC) qualified seventh at 1:2.894, while the #67 TRG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry of Justin Marks (Chico, CA) and Andy Lally (Newport, NY) was ninth at 1:3.223.