Mont-Tremblant: Friday report

SunTrust Racing Paces Rolex Sports Car Series Practice at Mont-Tremblant MONT-TREMBLANT, Quebec, Canada (May 20, 2004) - SunTrust Racing co-drivers Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli weren't planning on participating in practice or qualifying for...

SunTrust Racing Paces Rolex Sports Car Series Practice at Mont-Tremblant

MONT-TREMBLANT, Quebec, Canada (May 20, 2004) - SunTrust Racing co-drivers Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli weren't planning on participating in practice or qualifying for Sunday's 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant (SPEED Channel, 11 a.m. ET).

The teammates originally planned to leave practice and qualifying to co-driver Emanuel Collard while Taylor and Angelelli attended the Bar Mitzvah of Taylor's youngest son, Jordan, in Orlando. However, with the team positioned just three points out of the championship lead, Taylor and Angelelli made the decision to come to Canada in time for practice. The move paid immediate dividends, as Angelelli turned in a best lap of 106.815 mph (1:29.313) in the SunTrust Racing No. 10 Pontiac Riley to lead a field of 39 cars in the opening day of Rolex Sports Car Series practice in Quebec. It was the third consecutive race in which the SunTrust machine led Friday practice.

"The traffic was really difficult," Angelelli said. "I never had a clear lap it seemed. I've been told Mont-Tremblant gets faster and faster the more you run, so we'll need to go quicker tomorrow. I'm pretty happy with the car for now, though. The big question in my mind for tomorrow is about the weather."

Second quickest on the day was the car that has started each of the first three Rolex Sports Car Series races in 2004 on the pole, the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 01 Lexus Riley of Scott Pruett and Max Papis at 106.188 mph (1:29.841) with Papis behind the wheel. However, the day did not go without incident for the Ganassi squad, as Papis slid off-course near the end of the day's first Daytona Prototype practice session and the rough ride across the grass knocked the nose off the Lexus Riley.

"It's unfortunate that I made my guys work extra, I didn't want that," said Papis following the morning incident. "I went into Turn 1 and I put two wheels on the curb. The curb sucked me out. I think the wet grass (from a steady rain on Thursday afternoon) made the splitter sink into the grass, and basically, it broke off the nose. It's an unwanted situation, but my CompUSA guys are working hard to get the car back on track this afternoon. We are still on the same schedule as before."

Indeed, while the incident created more work for the CompUSA Chip Ganassi team, it did not have a negative effect on the team's performance, as the team also posted the second-quickest time in the afternoon session. However, none of the top-five teams from the morning practice were able to improve their times in the afternoon, owing to considerably warmer temperatures.

The day's third-quickest time was turned in by Oswaldo Negri in the Michael Shank Racing No. 6 Lexus Doran 105.648 mph (1:30.300). The Shank pairing of Negri and Burt Frisselle got their weekend off to a solid start as they look to build upon finishes of third in Round 2 at Homestead and sixth in Round 3 at Phoenix.

"We will be quicker tomorrow," team owner Michael Shank said. "We haven't put it all out there yet, so we look to be strong in qualifying tomorrow. Burt and Oswaldo are really happy with the car, though, so we feel confident about the race."

The Doran Lista Racing No. 27 Lexus Doran of Didier Theys and Jan Magnussen was fourth quick at 104.435 mph (1:31.349) with Magnussen at the wheel. The defending race champion Red Bull Brumos Racing No. 58 Porsche Fabcar shared by David Donohue, Darren Law and Sascha Maassen filled out the top five at 103.928 mph (1:31.794) with Law driving.

BMW LEADS GT PRACTICE

Winners of the past two races at Homestead and Phoenix, Boris Said and Bill Auberlen got off to a good start in their quest to score a "hat trick" in Canada, as their Prototype Technology Group No. 21 BMW M3 turned the quickest lap in the GT category at 99.129 mph (1:36.238) with Auberlen at the controls.

Second quickest in GT was Justin Marks in the Prototype Technology Group No. 22 BMW M3 at 98.092 mph (1:37.256), followed by The Racer's Group No. 67 Porsche GT3 RS driven by Kevin Buckler at 97.544 mph (1:37.802). Filling out the top five were Ian James in The Racer's Group No. 66 Porsche GT3 RS at 97.329 mph (1:38.018) and the Orbit Racing No. 44 Porsche GT3 RS driven by points leader Mike Fitzgerald at 97.011 mph (1:38.339).

Already under pressure from Said and Auberlen for the GT points lead, the No. 44 team suffered a setback in the morning practice session when the Porsche's left rear upright broke at the start/finish line with Jay Policastro at the wheel. The car swapped ends and came to a stop on the grass at the pit exit, but the team avoided contact with the barrier.

"It's a good thing it happened there rather than the next corner," Policastro said. "But I saved it. That's never happened to me on the straight before. It's happened before when I was turning, when it was load bearing, so I don't know why it broke. The bolt on the lower control arm just snapped."

NOTEBOOK

In Rolex Series Super Grand Sport (SGS), American Andy Lally posted the quickest lap in Friday practice at 93.923 mph (1:41.573) in the TPC Racing Porsche No. 38 GT3 Cup. Lally shares the ride with Marc Bunting, and the pair currently stands in a third-place tie in SGS points, trailing leaders Michael Levitas and Randy Pobst in the TPC Racing No. 36 Porsche GT3 Cup, who had the third-best lap in practice. James Sofronas piloted his Anchor Racing No. 92 BMW M3 to a best lap of 88.526 mph (1:47.765) to lead practice in the Grand Sport (GS) division of Grand-Am Cup Series. The Powell Motorsport No. 11 Cadillac CTS-V driven by Devon Powell was second-quick at 88.015 mph (1:48.391). Sylvain Tremblay led the Grand-Am Cup Sport Touring (ST) class in practice at 85.340 mph (1:51.788) in the SpeedSource No. 70 Mazda RX-8.

What They're Saying

Michael Shank, team owner of the Michael Shank Racing No. 6 Lexus Doran

"We will be quicker tomorrow. We haven't put it all out there, yet, so we look to be strong in qualifying tomorrow. Burt and Oswaldo are really happy with the car, though, so we feel confident about the race. The testing we did at Mid Ohio and the Glen is paying off, and we keep finding new ways to develop the car so we can keep improving the pace each time we go out. Our package with the Lexus-powered Doran is well suited to this track, so we are looking for a good result this weekend."

Jan Magnussen, driver of the Doran-Lista Racing No. 27 Lexus Doran

"So far we're in good shape. I believe we're as strong as anybody else here. This is my first time at this track but already it has made my list of my top three tracks. It's a nice change from your typical Formula 1 circuit. Laguna Seca is first, Bathurst is second and now Mont-Tremblant is third.

"We changed the springs today and we made some changes to the dampers(brakes); we made some pretty big changes, but I think we've gone in the right direction every time with our changes. It's been awhile since I've enjoyed myself so much."

Didier Theys, driver of the Doran-Lista Racing No. 27 Lexus Doran

"I worked on the chassis yesterday, and Jan (Magnussen) worked on it today. I think we have a good race car."

Forest Barber, driver of the Kodak Bell Motorsports No. 54 Pontiac Doran

 "We love the track, and the Kodak car is coming together for us.  We have
some more work to do tomorrow, in the area of aerodynamics.  We haven't had
any mechanical issues at all, knock on wood.  So far, so good."

Jay Policastro, driver of the Orbit Racing No. 44 Porsche GT3 RS

"It's a beautiful facility. The racing surface is nice and wide, extremely smooth - probably one of the smoothest we run on. The coolest part of the track is the turn one complex. It's a big sweeping right-hander that's a complex of three corners, going in fifth gear, pretty much top speed, and then coming down to a third-gear corner that's a real slow chicane. So it combines all the disciplines of speed - sweeping turns, momentum and braking. It's really quite spectacular."

-garra-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Jan Magnussen , Boris Said , Didier Theys , Max Papis , Scott Pruett , Wayne Taylor , Randy Pobst , Sascha Maassen , Kevin Buckler , Ian James , Devon Powell , Andy Lally , Darren Law , David Donohue , Max Angelelli , Sylvain Tremblay , Justin Marks , Burt Frisselle , Michael Levitas , Joseph Policastro Jr. , Forest Barber , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Marc Bunting , Chip Ganassi , James Sofronas , Michael Shank
Teams SpeedSource , Michael Shank Racing