Mont-Tremblant: Friday qualifying report

Pruett Takes Second-Consecutive Pole for 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant MONT-TREMBLANT, Quebec, Canada (May 20, 2005) -- There's something about Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant that brings out the best in defending Daytona Prototype co-champion...

Pruett Takes Second-Consecutive Pole for 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant

MONT-TREMBLANT, Quebec, Canada (May 20, 2005) -- There's something about Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant that brings out the best in defending Daytona Prototype co-champion Scott Pruett, as the veteran racer turned the fastest qualifying lap today at the historic road course and will start from the pole position for the second-consecutive year in Saturday's Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant (SPEED Channel, Live, 11 a.m. ET).

While several names appeared at the top of the time chart during a dramatic qualifying session, Pruett once again managed to get the most out of his No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley to score the pole with a lap at 1:29.972 (106.033 mph). It was the team's third pole position in five races this season and was the 14th pole in 17 races since the CompUSA squad joined the Rolex Series at the beginning of 2004. Last year at Mont-Tremblant, Pruett and then-co-driver Max Papis took the first Daytona Prototype victory for themselves, the Ganassi team and Lexus. It proved to be a catalyst for their championship-winning season, and Pruett hopes for a repeat win tomorrow with co-driver Luis Diaz.

"I'm just having a great time running the Daytona Prototypes," said Pruett. "This is the most fun I've had in a long time. I guess it just goes to show that I can still teach these young guys a lesson or two every now and then. It's great working for Chip (Ganassi) and the whole organization. The competition is tight, and you really have to put down a fast lap when you are limited to 15 minutes of qualifying. But I think we might have even left a bit on the table. I got slowed by traffic a few times toward the end, and then the car started to get loose and slide around. I'm totally confident in the guys for the race tomorrow. The CompUSA crew is known for solid, reliable pit stops and I can't wait to go after it again."

For the second-straight year, Max Angelelli will start alongside Pruett on the front row at Mont-Tremblant. Angelelli turned a best lap at 1:29.991 (106.011 mph) in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley, missing the pole by just a few hundredths of a second. Angelelli currently shares the Daytona Prototype points lead with co-driver Wayne Taylor, and heads into tomorrow looking for his and the team's third victory of the season.

"It was pretty close," said Angelelli of his qualifying run. "When it's that close, it's tough to digest. I definitely could do better. The car is good, I just could do better. When I look forward to the race, I have to be good enough for the race. If it's a clear race, I think we will be there. Approaching a six-hour race, everybody needs to have patience, a lot of patience and wait, because the race is so long. I hope to be one of the people that has a lot of patience. I'm going to try that."

Starting a Daytona Prototype-career best third will be Guy Smith in Orbit Racing's No. 39 Jim Matthews Racing Pontiac Riley following a best lap at 1:30.223 (105.738 mph). While Smith has enjoyed success at various levels in motorsports, he has yet to win in Rolex Series competition. He may have his chance tomorrow alongside co-drivers Jim Matthews and Marcel Tiemann.

"(Qualifying) was good," Smith said. "The car has been very good. This is my first time here, and the first time for the crew, so it's been kind of a learning process. It's an awesome track, and there are a lot of challenges. It's a real driver's track. We have been doing well for the last couple of days, and qualifying went well. On my fourth lap I pushed a little too hard and took a trip across the grass. Grass got in the radiator and I had to pit. I am happy with third, but I was little disappointed because I thought pole position was ours."

Stefan Johansson made it two Ganassi cars in the top-four as he placed the team's No. 02 New Century Mortgage Lexus Riley fourth on the grid at 1:30.418 (105.510 mph). Johansson and co-driver Cort Wagner are also looking for their first Daytona Prototype victory, as are Italian newcomers Fabrizio Gollin and Matteo Bobbi in Doran Racing's No. 77 Crown Royal Special Reserve Lexus Doran. Gollin earned the team's third top-five starting spot in five qualifying sessions this season on the strength of a lap at 1:30.820 (105.043 mph).


In GT qualifying at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant, Andy Lally earned his first career GT pole position thanks to a best lap at 1:39.541 (95.840 mph) in the No. 65 Auto Gallery/TRG Porsche GT3 Cup. Lally's run was certainly welcome news in the TRG camp after a difficult outing three weeks ago at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and Lally and co-driver Marc Bunting will be looking to regain the GT points lead tomorrow.

"I've got to thank the TRG guys -- they put the car under me that let me do that," Lally said. "We had a little issue with the left front before we went out, and they did a great job and a great hustle getting it sorted out and putting the car back exactly as we wanted it. I asked Lars (Giersing, race engineer) for a little bit more rear grip for qualifying because we were planning on hanging it out, and he gave me exactly what we needed."

Lally shares the front row with his good friend and roommate Spencer Pumpelly, who placed TPC Racing's No. 37 Ajilon Consulting/TPC Superchargers second following a best lap at 1:39.599 (95.784 mph). For Pumpelly it will be the first time this season that he has started from the class front row, and is also the best starting spot of the season for the No. 37 machine he co-drives with John Littlechild.

"We had a great car yesterday, struggled a little today but made some changes," Pumpelly said. "The TPC guys did awesome and gave me a great car for qualifying. I thought we did a lap that was good enough to make the pole and then some guy named Lally beat me at the very end. I don't think I'm going to pay him rent this month."

Joey Hand starts third on the GT grid following a best lap at 1:39.648 (95.737 mph) in the No. 16 F1 Air BMW M3 for BMW Team PTG, and will be joined on Row 2 by local favorite Jean-Francois Dumoulin of Trois-Rivieres, Quebec in the No. 36 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup at 1:39.660 (95.725 mph). Andrew Davis rounded out the GT top five at 1:39.804 (95.587 mph) in the No. 73 Tafel Racing Porsche GT3 Cup.


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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Fabrizio Gollin , Stefan Johansson , Guy Smith , Max Papis , Scott Pruett , Joey Hand , Luis Diaz , Andy Lally , Matteo Bobbi , Max Angelelli , Jim Matthews , Jean-Francois Dumoulin , Andrew Davis , John Littlechild , Chip Ganassi , Cort Wagner
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Doran Racing