Fittipaldi Quickest in First Practice Day for Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 29, 2005) -- Christian Fittipaldi has some unfinished business at Barber Motorsports Park. The Brazilian driver--who will co-drive the...
Fittipaldi Quickest in First Practice Day for Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 29, 2005) -- Christian Fittipaldi has some unfinished business at Barber Motorsports Park. The Brazilian driver--who will co-drive the No. 66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley with Germany's Jorg Bergmeister in Sunday's Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant (SPEED Channel, Live, 1 p.m. ET)--was in contention for victory in last year's race at the state-of-the-art facility, only to crash within sight of the checkered flag.
Fittipaldi got his weekend off on the right foot as he looks to avenge last year's disappointment by topping the time charts in Friday's official practice sessions with a best lap at 1:21.888 (101.114 mph). The quick lap came in the morning practice session, on the heels of Thursday's promoter test day at Barber in which Fittipaldi also clocked the unofficial quickest time.
"I think we just continued very good progress from yesterday, and I'm going to say what I said yesterday, that I'm still very confident that we can stick it in the top-two tomorrow," Fittipaldi said. "We'll see what happens. We definitely have a car to go for the pole over here and when it comes down to the race it's a little bit different. We also have a very good race car, but it's different because of yellow flags and traffic. So many things can happen and it's never the quickest car that wins in this series, but usually the most consistent. We're going to try and split it in two and hopefully put it on pole tomorrow or at least try our very best. The competition is tough, but we're going to try our very best, and when it comes to Sunday, have a good, solid, consistent car and finish very well."
Max Angelelli logged the second-quickest time of the day in the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley at 1:22.024 (100.946 mph). Angelelli and his co-driver and car owner, Wayne Taylor, share the Daytona Prototype points lead and enter Sunday's race looking for their third victory of the 2005 season. The duo finished second at Barber Motorsports Park last October, and has been among the quickest throughout the season.
"As usual, it looks like we have a pretty good car," Angelelli said. "It looks like two new cars are going to challenge us for the lead, which is the No. 99 and the No. 7. They look pretty good, especially the No. 7. I think our biggest competitors this time will be the No. 66. I think Christian is very fast. He's a very good driver. Last year he was very fast all year. So we'll pay attention and watch very closely to everything they do. It looks like every time Christian is coming to the races the No. 66 is pretty strong."
Alex Gurney was third-quickest on the day in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley with a lap at 1:22.315 (100.589 mph). Gurney's impressive lap comes in preparation for just his third Rolex Series start, and the second-generation racer will once again share the No. 99 machine with car owner Bob Stallings.
Turning in perhaps an even more impressive performance on Friday was Frenchman Jonathan Cochet in the No. 7 Tuttle Team Racing Pontiac Riley. Cochet--who brings previous experience from Formula 3, Formula 3000 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans--turned a best lap of 1:22.376 (100.515 mph) in his first official Daytona Prototype practice day, driving a race car that made its series debut one race ago in the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway. Cochet will co-drive with car owner Brian Tuttle.
Mike Borkowski completed the top five in the No. 6 Mears Motor Coach Pontiac Riley with a lap at 1:22.540 (100.315 mph) for Michael Shank Racing. Borkowski, who is looking for his first Rolex Series race victory since the 2003 season, is sharing the No. 6 machine this weekend with Kenny Wilden. The Canadian teamed-up with Borkowski to finish fifth at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in April, and is standing-in for regular driver Paul Mears Jr.
GT POINTS LEADER STANTON TOPS CLASS PRACTICE CHARTS
Craig Stanton in the No. 80 Synergy Racing Porsche GT3 Cup posted the quickest time of the day in the GT class with a lap of 1:31.044 (90.945 mph). The GT points leader turned his best lap in the morning session, and is hoping to claim the team's first win of the year on Sunday with teammate David Murry.
"I love this track," Stanton said. "We've come up with a great setup here. It's something that's going to be good in the long run. I'm not sure who's going to start and who's going to finish, but we're going to try to go for the pole and try to go for the win. It's really important for us to finish as well as we can. We're in a points chase here, and we want to win a championship for the Synergy team, for Porsche and for us as drivers, so we want to do as well as we can."
Stanton was three-tenths of a second quicker than BMW Team PTG driver Joey Hand, who logged a time of 1:31.064 (90.945 mph) in the No. 16 F1 Air BMW M3. Andy Lally in the No. 65 TRG Pontiac GTO.R was third-quickest with a lap of 1:31.108 (90.881 mph).
Andrew Davis in the No. 73 Tafel Racing Porsche GT3 Cup was fourth-quickest with his time of 1:31.153 (90.836 mph), while Ian James in the No. 22 BMW Team PTG M3 was fifth-fastest (1:31.198, 90.791 mph). All of the top-five times were posted in the morning session.
MCDOWELL LEADS GRAND-AM CUP PRACTICE; TUATY QUICKEST IN ST
In Friday's Grand-Am Cup Series practice, Michael McDowell turned a best lap of 1:37.580 (84.853 mph) in the No. 60 Finlay Motorsports BMW M3 to top the charts in preparation for Saturday's Barber Park 200. Second-quickest was James Sofronas in the No. 92 Anchor Racing BMW M3 at 1:37.680 (84.767 mph), and Scott Maxwell was third in the No. 05 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang GT at 1:37.790 (84.671 mph).
David Tuaty posted the quickest practice time among the Sport Touring (ST) class machines. Tuaty clocked a best lap at 1:42.257 (80.972 mph) in the No. 12 TC Kline Racing BMW Z4 to lead a 1-2 sweep for the TC Kline team, as Kevin O'Shaughnessy was second-quick in the No. 71 BMW Z4 at 1:42.276 (80.957 mph). Will Turner posted the third-quickest time in ST with a lap at 1:42.331 (80.914 mph) in the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW 330i.