Kelleners Qualifies 16th at Mont-Tremblant In Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 Pontiac No. 54 MONT-TREMBLANT, Quebec, May 20 - Ralf Kelleners is a quick learner. Although he'd never driven at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant before he did 15 laps in a ...
Kelleners Qualifies 16th at Mont-Tremblant In Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 Pontiac No. 54
MONT-TREMBLANT, Quebec, May 20 - Ralf Kelleners is a quick learner.
Although he'd never driven at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant before he did 15 laps in a practice session about an hour before qualifying, the Dusseldorf, Germany-based driver still qualified 16th Friday afternoon for Saturday's six-hour Rolex series race here.
What's more, the Bell Motorsports/Feeds the Need Racing crew did a herculean job to just get the Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 Pontiac No. 54 back on the track after a suspension piece broke in the first test session here on Thursday, sending Terry Borcheller of Gainesville, Ga. into the wall.
Borcheller escaped serious injury and in fact was in Ohio practicing for a Sunday race while Kelleners qualified the Kodak EasyShare car Friday in Quebec. Borcheller will fly back to Canada in time to go through customs one more time in order to compete in Saturday's Rolex series race here, and then on Saturday night he'll fly back to Ohio for the other event on Sunday.
He'll also be on TV this weekend more than Oprah. Saturday's six-hour race will be broadcast live on SPEED from 11 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Eastern time. Borcheller's two-hour-and-45-minute race on Sunday will be carried on CBS from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern time.
Although neither Kelleners nor the Kodak EasyShare team's third driver, Forest Barber of Fort Worth, tested on Thursday and Barber won't get to drive until Saturday, Kelleners put the car in the show with a fast lap of 1:32.303 for an average speed of 103.355 mph around the 2.65-mile, 15-turn road course.
It was no small accomplishment, since the team had to work long, hard hours to repair the damage the car received in Thursday's crash, which occurred between turns 10 and 11 while the car was running second in the practice session.
"First of all the car had a big shunt yesterday and the mechanics got it back together, which was a very tough job," Kelleners said. "If you gave this car to a normal repair shop they would say 'OK, come back in four weeks,' but we had 24 hours to get it race ready, and it's race ready. We're just missing out on five or six hours of practice in comparison to the others, which makes all the difference. So we kind of like have to start at zero, and work like this into the race."
Despite being required to perform under pressure on a track he'd never driven on before Friday, Kelleners said he liked the road course.
"The track is brilliant; it's nice; it's a real race track," he said. "Many of the American race tracks are similar to it. It's real exciting track. It's not like slowed-down with chicanes or anything like that; it's pure racing."
The Kodak EasyShare car will travel to Doran Designs' shop in Lebanon, Ohio for further work after this event and before the next race, another six-hour enduro at Watkins Glen, N.Y. June 10-12.
For more information, Feeds the Need's Web site is at www.feedstheneedracing.com. The Grand American section of Kodak's Web site is at www.Kodak.com/US/en/consumer/garr/.
Borcheller's Web site is at www.tborcheller.com and Kelleners' is at www.kelleners-sport.com. Other interesting information can be found at www.grandamerican.com, www.lecircuit.com, www.speedtv.com and www.restartcommunications.com.