Turner Takes GS Pole at Home Track for Monday's KONI Challenge Race at Lime Rock LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 26, 2007) -- Hailing from nearby Newburyport, Mass., owner/driver Will Turner put his No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 on the pole position ...
Turner Takes GS Pole at Home Track for Monday's KONI Challenge Race at Lime Rock
LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 26, 2007) -- Hailing from nearby Newburyport, Mass., owner/driver Will Turner put his No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 on the pole position for Monday's Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Grand Sport (GS) class race as part of the Grand-Am GT Classic at Lime Rock Park (SPEED, 6/10, 3 p.m. ET).
Turner clocked a best lap at 58.933 seconds (93.462 mph), breaking the previous GS qualifying record of 58.954 seconds (93.429 mph) established last year by Todd Snyder. It is the second consecutive year that the car being driven by Turner and long-time co-driver Don Salama of Boston, Mass. will start from the pole position for a race at Lime Rock. Last year, Salama took the Street Tuner (ST) class pole position and combined with Turner to finish second in the ST race on their way to championship honors. Turner and Salama were poised for a top-five result in last weekend's race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca before Turner crashed late in the race.
"Obviously, there's no better place to be on the pole than your home track," Turner said. "After the crash at Laguna, I really didn't think I'd be qualifying. I thought we could get the car fixed to start the race, but the Turner Motorsport guys rocked 48 hours with no sleep, got the car here and set it up. On our home track, we wanted to be up front. Let's hope we can finish up front too."
Shane Lewis will start second in the No. 21 Bodymotion Racing Porsche 997 with a lap at 59.081 seconds (93.228 mph). Lewis is sharing the ride with Mike Bavaro and Danbury, Conn. resident Mike Piera, and the front-row starting spot was especially sweet for the team considering that regular crew chief Paul Schwarz suffered a closed-head injury recently in an automobile accident and is currently recuperating. Jesse Bavaro is the team's acting crew chief.
"It's a pretty tight field here," Lewis said. "At someplace like Lime Rock, obviously, qualifying is extremely important because of how you have to work traffic. It's just a very, very difficult place to pass. We've thrown everything at this car but the kitchen sink. I know that's kind of a cliche, but we made every possible change you could imagine to it. The car's finally starting to come to us a little bit. Everybody at Bodymotion, they never stop working on the car. That's what it takes to be competitive here. You can never stop pushing."
Fresh off a GS victory in his first KONI Challenge Series start last weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Peter Ludwig put the No. 49 Marcus Motorsports Porsche 997 third on the grid with a lap at 59.132 seconds (93.148 mph). Ludwig, of New Paltz, N.Y., also considers Lime Rock Park his home track and is once again sharing the car with Spencer Pumpelly, with whom he co-drove to the victory last weekend.
"I'm absolutely excited, number one, to be driving with Spencer," Ludwig said. "I've known him for six years now through (the) Skip Barber (School). This is my second weekend in a sports car. Last week was a dream come true. It was a spectacular event. I felt so good winning there for the first time and coming to Lime Rock, which I call my home track. I live 45 minutes away and I've got a ton of laps here. I haven't stopped learning yet. Every time I get in that vehicle, I'm getting faster and faster. I'm looking forward to competing on Monday. Winning back-to-back would absolutely be another dream come true."
David Russell qualified fourth in the No. 99 Fresh From Florida/Automatic Racing BMW M3 with a lap at 59.170 seconds (93.088 mph). Russell and co-driver Tom Long head into Monday's race looking to improve on their season-best result of sixth, which they achieved last weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The No. 99 machine has now qualified inside the top-six positions for all five KONI Challenge Series events thus far.
Shawn Price completed the top five in the No. 79 Kinetic Motorsports BMW M3 with a lap at 59.408 seconds (92.715 mph). Price is co-driving this weekend with Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve Daytona Prototype regular Nic Jonsson, with whom he has co-driven in two previous KONI Challenge rounds prior to this weekend. The duo's best result to date was a 14th-place outing in the Fresh From Florida 200 at Daytona International Speedway to open the 2007 season.