Two TRG Porsches Qualify Inside Top-15 Spots for Fresh From Florida 200 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., January 24, 2008 -- In qualifying for Friday's 2008 Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series season-opening Fresh From Florida 200 at Daytona International ...
Two TRG Porsches Qualify Inside Top-15 Spots for Fresh From Florida 200
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., January 24, 2008 -- In qualifying for Friday's 2008 Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series season-opening Fresh From Florida 200 at Daytona International Speedway, TRG drivers Duncan Ende and Daniel Di Leo placed their Porsches inside the top-15 starting spots in a field that will include more than 90 cars.
"Both Duncan and Daniel were awesome in today's qualifying session," said TRG owner Kevin Buckler. "Unfortunately, the (No.) 41 car had a tough day today, but I'm optimistic that all three cars have a good shot to win this race tomorrow. This is just the start of the season, but we're definitely going after the championship."
While a light rain drastically altered track conditions just a few minutes into the qualifying session, Ende led the way for the three-car entry from TRG by qualifying 10th in the No. 39 The DigiTrust Group/Adam's Polishes Porsche 997 with a lap at 2:07.576 (100.458 mph). Ende's co-driver for the three-hour Fresh From Florida 200 will be Spencer Pumpelly.
"I qualified in 10th place on the sheet, and I'm really happy with it," Ende said. "We weren't the fastest car out there, but it was wet. That really evened the playing field for us and made it more of a Porsche track after all. I'm really excited to be starting inside the top 10 for this race. It's a good start to the season."
Despite a severely limited amount of track time prior to the qualifying session, Canadian Daniel Di Leo qualified just four spots behind his TRG teammate, placing the No. 42 Maxwell Paper Porsche 997 14th on the grid. Di Leo's best lap was 2:08.382 (99.827 mph) in the car he is sharing with Bryan Sellers.
"I think we definitely have a little bit more momentum by actually finishing our first session of the weekend," Di Leo said. "We've had some problem with tires letting go in the first two practice sessions. Coming here with not a lot of track time and losing the first two sessions never puts you ahead of the game. In qualifying we went out there and the car felt good. The balance was a little bit better. Of course, the rain came on the second lap, so it's hard to know where exactly we would have been.
"It's a long year, we're here for the whole year, and 14th out of 50-some cars is not the end of the world, especially with a three-hour race. We're definitely optimistic. We have some work to do, both on the handling side of things and just figuring everything out. Unfortunately, the (No.) 42 car didn't get a chance to test here earlier in January, so I think that's put us a little bit behind the eight ball. We'll see what tomorrow brings and we're optimistic going in."
While two of the three TRG entries were undoubtedly pleased with their performance in qualifying, co-drivers Scott Schroeder and Andy Lally will have their hands full in the No. 41 Cohen Financial Porsche 997 after missing the qualifying session due to an engine change. Schroeder will start the Fresh From Florida 200 from near the rear of the 44-car Grand Sport (GS) class field.
"This morning, Andy went out and did a couple of laps," Schroeder explained. "Unfortunately, the motor didn't like it. We didn't blow it up, but we lost severe oil pressure and we pulled it in to be safe. We lost the following practice and the qualifying session in the process of doing a motor change. The guys are working hard and I think we'll have a good car for the race. It's kind of in my hands to bring it up through the pack and then I'll hand it off to Andy to finish it off. It might end with a good day and on a good note, but it's definitely a disappointing day for us."