Pruett Maintains No. 01 CompUSA Lexus Riley's Qualifying Record at Mont-Tremblant MONT-TREMBLANT, Quebec, Canada (May 22, 2004) - For the fourth time in as many Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series races, the CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing No. 01...
Pruett Maintains No. 01 CompUSA Lexus Riley's Qualifying Record at Mont-Tremblant
MONT-TREMBLANT, Quebec, Canada (May 22, 2004) - For the fourth time in as many Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series races, the CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing No. 01 Lexus Riley will start from the pole position, as Scott Pruett posted a best lap of 107.705 mph (1:28.575) to secure the inside of the front row for Sunday's 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant (SPEED Channel, 11 a.m. ET).
The pole was Pruett's third of the season, as he also claimed the top starting spot for the No. 01 in qualifying for the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Grand Prix of Miami in February, while his co-driver Max Papis took the pole for the Food City 250 at Phoenix last month. However, Pruett and Papis enter the race still looking for their first victory in 2004 Rolex Sports Car Series competition.
"Our fourth pole position in a row is very exciting, especially coming here for the first time," Pruett said. "The only (driver) that has been here before is Max (Papis). To come out of the box in Mont-Tremblant and do so well is outstanding. This is a wonderful circuit, but a very technical circuit. We had a little incident yesterday and I've got to hand it to the CompUSA guys, they turned things around really quick. They got the car right back out there and never missed a beat, so we were able to continue on with our development. Winning this pole position is a huge statement for the team. We had a few setbacks during the weekend and we rose right above it. Now if we can back up all these poles with a win, we'll be in great shape."
Sharing the front row with the No. 01 will be the SunTrust Racing No. 10 Pontiac Riley, despite the fact that the team had to change engines between practice and qualifying after losing the oil pump belt during the morning practice session. With the appropriate repairs made, Max Angelelli managed to clock a best lap at 107.521 mph (1:28.727) in the No. 10 to claim the outside pole for the car's best starting position since taking the outside pole for the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
"I have to apologize to the team because maybe I could have had the pole today," Angelelli said. "I just didn't realize how little time I had left. I thought I would rest the tires a lap and go for a clear lap but it was too late. At that point, I had maybe only two laps left and then I ran into a slower car. Even so, the car is very good and I have to praise the SunTrust boys for a fantastic job to change engines so close to qualifying."
The defending race champion Red Bull Brumos Racing No. 58 Porsche Fabcar will start third on the strength of a 106.295 mph (1:29.750) lap from David Donohue. Today's performance represented the team's fourth consecutive top-five qualifying effort and its best starting spot of the season.
"It's a nice rebound after Phoenix," Donohue said. "We have three strong drivers for this race and the great preparation by the whole Red Bull Brumos team."
The Doran Lista Racing No. 27 Lexus Doran starts fourth after a best lap of 105.537 mph (1:30.395) by Jan Magnussen, while the Howard-Boss Motorsports No. 4 Pontiac Crawford rounds out the top five thanks to a best lap of 105.463 mph (1:30.458) by Butch Leitzinger.
Notable by its absence in the qualifying session was the championship-leading Rx.com/G&W Motorsports No. 81 BMW Doran of drivers Cort Wagner, Brent Martini, and Kelly Collins. The No. 81 hasn't turned a lap since Thursday's track test day, as the team discovered an unspecified mechanical problem on Friday morning and continued working through the situation Friday and Saturday. Team managing director Price Cobb expects the car to compete in the race with a new engine, and remained optimistic about his team's chances despite the limited track time based on the car's performance on Thursday.
BMW TAKES GT POLE
For the third consecutive race, the Prototype Technology Group No. 21 BMW M3 will start from the GT class pole position, as Boris Said clocked a best lap at 98.258 mph (1:37.091). Said also qualified the No. 21 on the pole in Round 2 at Homestead, while co-driver Auberlen claimed the pole for Round 3 at Phoenix.
"I've never been here before," commented Said. "This is just a cool place to come race. The track is great; the town is great. I watched it on TV last year, and I never thought it would be like this. Our car just handles so good here. This is a driver's track. If this stays together, these guys don't have a prayer. The BMW is just too good here."
Ian James put The Racers Group No. 66 Porsche GT3 second on the GT grid with a best lap at 98.078 mph (1:37.270). The Prototype Technology Group No. 22 BMW M3 of Joey Hand qualified third at 97.838 mph (1:37.508).
LALLY SCORES SGS POLE
Andy Lally took the top qualifying spot for Super Grand Sport (SGS) in the TPC Racing No. 38 Porsche GT3 Cup with a quick lap at 93.819 mph (1:41.815). It was the team's second pole position of the season, and the first since the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
TPC Racing swept the top two spots on the SGS grid, as Randy Pobst put the No. 36 Porsche GT3 Cup second at 93.699 mph (1:41.815), and the Powell Motorsports No. 07 Corvette will start third in SGS following a best lap of 93.250 mph (1:42.306) by Canadian Marc-Antoine Camirand.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
Lucas Luhr - Brumos Racing No. 59 Porsche Fabcar "I made a mistake on my first lap then on my quick lap I know that I can go faster because I am still learning the tires. Sixth is not so bad."
Bob Snodgrass - Brumos Racing Owner "We came here with two very balanced teams. We are very happy with qualifying and having two teams that can repeat last year's 1-2 victory."
Jimmy Morales - CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing No. 02 Lexus Riley "We changed some things with the brakes, and it didn't work. During one of my good laps, I locked the rear tires up and I spun. From that point, I started overdriving the car because I knew that I was in trouble and not setting fast times. We ended up seventh today, but the CompUSA guys did a great job and the car is perfect for tomorrow."
Chip Ganassi - CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Co-Owner "We want to win the race. We're tired of winning the pole and not winning the race. Consistency is our goal for tomorrow, which will hopefully lead to a win."
Butch Leitzinger - No. 4 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford "This is a very challenging track, but it's challenging for a lot of people. It's very hard to figure out the proper way to get the car around here. It's also difficult to find the proper setup for the car too. Our team has worked extremely hard. After each session, we have been finding better solutions. We made some major setup changes before qualifying that really helped. It will be hard to run the speeds, but we've been getting better and better each time on the track. This should be a very exciting race."
Jan Magnussen - Doran Lista Racing No. 27 Lexus Doran "I'm a little disappointed; I thought we would qualify better than that [fourth]. The car wasn't bad. It's a long race, and starting in the second row might not be so bad. The balance was pretty good. It's hard to say where they're taking time from us. But I still think we have a good car for the race."
Terry Borcheller - No. 54 Kodak-Bell Motorsports Pontiac Doran "A wheel fell off (in practice) and Forest went into the tires and it hurt the car pretty good in the front. But the team did a great job getting back out and the car was good. I think I had a 30.5 in it and I did a 30.9 - I caught traffic at the downhill right turn, otherwise I would have had another half-second which would have been about another five positions. But it was three seconds faster than we've been all weekend, so it was great."
Forest Barber - No. 54 Kodak-Bell Motorsports Pontiac Doran "In the first practice session today the wheel nuts came off the left rear wheel at the bottom of the hill in turn two. At the top of the hill the wheel fell off and I had no steering, no brakes and I was just along for the ride. I hit the guardrail and the tire wall. It broke the front splitter, the toe box, the nose and the left-rear hub. The team did a phenomenal job to get the car ready for Terry [Borcheller] to qualify. We had a reasonable qualifying effort. If not for traffic, it would have been even better. The times are very close; I think the cars around us are only a few tenths away from each other. It should be a good race. Terry will start of course. I'm not sure, but I think then it will be Andy [Pilgrim] and then me."