Watkins Glen II: Qualifying report

Gollin Captures First Career Rolex Series Pole Position for CompUSA 200 at The Glen WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (August 11, 2005) -- For the third-consecutive Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series race, the driver starting from the pole position will...

Gollin Captures First Career Rolex Series Pole Position for CompUSA 200 at The Glen

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (August 11, 2005) -- For the third-consecutive Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series race, the driver starting from the pole position will be doing so for the first time in his Rolex Series career, as Italian hotshoe Fabrizio Gollin claimed the top starting spot for Friday's CompUSA 200 at The Glen (SPEED Channel, 10 p.m. ET).

Driving Doran Racing's gold and purple No. 77 Crown Royal Special Reserve Ford Doran, Gollin logged a best lap of 1:09.409 (128.930 mph) in Thursday's qualifying session to secure his spot on the inside of the front row. Gollin followed No. 99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley driver Alex Gurney--who claimed his first pole two weeks ago at Barber Motorsports Park--and No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley car owner and driver Wayne Taylor--who took his first pole for June's Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway--to extend the streak of first-time pole winners. Gollin will share the No. 77 machine with his countryman, Matteo Bobbi.

It will not be Gollin's first time on the front row for a Rolex Series event, however, as he placed the No. 77 second on the grid for the Ferrari Maserati 400 at California Speedway in April. The pole position was the first for the Doran team since Bill Auberlen started the 2003 Rolex Series season finale at Daytona from the inside of the front row, and is the first pole for a Ford-powered Daytona Prototype since Scott Maxwell started the 2003 Rolex 24 At Daytona from the pole in a Ford Multimatic. The pole comes in just the second race for the Doran team since switching from Lexus to Ford engines.

"We understand with a new engine, we have more torque," Gollin said. "It is easier to find a better set up, because we can use a little more downforce. Especially with the race, it is easier to overtake a GT car through acceleration rather than top speed."

Despite the fact that he crashed to bring the Daytona Prototype qualifying session to a premature conclusion, Germany's Jorg Bergmeister will start from the outside of the front row in the No. 66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley with a best lap at 1:08.523 (128.716 mph). Bergmeister matched his best qualifying performance of the season, as he also started second for the Road & Track 250 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May, and will be the second-consecutive race that the No. 66 will start from the second position. Christian Fittipaldi also rolled off from the outside of the front row at Barber Motorsports Park.

"The car is damaged quite badly, but I hope that the guys can fix it for tomorrow," Bergmeister said. "I feel bad for them. They were on the radio telling me to push harder, which I tried. Unfortunately, when I was braking into the last corner, I slipped a little on the brake. There was grip tape missing on the brake (pedal) and it just slipped off. I was a little too quick going into the turn and I lost the car. Tough luck. We had a great car all day. We were fastest in both practice sessions, and the car felt great. I think I would have had the shot at the pole."

Michael McDowell equaled his career-best qualifying performance and will start third for the CompUSA 200 with a lap at 1:08.739 (128.311 mph) in the No. 19 Make A Wish/Air Force Reserve/Commercial Defeasance BMW Riley. McDowell also started third for the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen in June, but today's qualifying performance came on the 2.45-mile Watkins Glen International "short course" as opposed to the 3.4-mile long circuit in June. McDowell and co-driver Memo Gidley head into Friday's race on the heels of a career-best second-place result in the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant at Barber Motorsports Park.

Luis Diaz made it four different engine manufacturers in the top four starting positions as he placed his No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley on the outside of Row 2 with a lap at 1:08.901 (128.010 mph). It was the eighth top-four qualifying performance in nine races this season for Diaz and co-driver Scott Pruett.

Daytona Prototype points co-leader Wayne Taylor completed the top five on the starting grid with a best lap of 1:09.085 (127.669 mph). Taylor and co-driver Max Angelelli lead the Rolex Series with three victories through the first eight races of the 2005 campaign, but the duo has yet to win in three previous Daytona Prototype appearances at Watkins Glen International. The top eight cars qualified within one second of the pole-winning time.


In GT qualifying, Justin Marks drove the No. 16 F1 Air BMW M3 to the class pole position for the second-consecutive race with a time of 1:15.637 (116.610 mph). Marks also took the GT pole at Barber Motorsports Park two weeks ago, and shares the No. 16 machine with Joey Hand. Marks edged-out BMW Team PTG teammate Tom Milner in the No. 21 BMW Financial Services BMW M3 by just 67-hundreths of a second to take the pole.

"It was a good qualifying run," said Marks, who is going for his third-straight class victory alongside Hand. "With the track being this short, it is important to get a gap early because you can run into lapped traffic easily. You want to get your momentum up and get in a good rhythm. It should be an exciting race, because it is a short race. It is going to be conducive to a lot more action, because drivers are going to need to get the job done pretty quickly. We are going to need to drive smart and push hard from the first lap."

Marks will have his hands full tomorrow with teammate Milner starting alongside him. Milner, who will co-drive the No. 21 with defending Rolex Series GT champion Bill Auberlen, placed his BMW second on the class grid with a time of 1:15.704 (116.506 mph).

Patrick Long in the No. 26 New Century Mortgage Porsche GT3 Cup prevented a 1-2-3 qualifying run for BMW by putting the AASCO Motorsports machine third on the grid with a time of 1:15.704 (116.123 mph). Long will co-drive in the CompUSA 200 with car owner Pat Flanagan.

Kelly Collins will start the No. 17 F1 Air BMW Team PTG M3 fourth thanks to a lap at 1:15.978 (116.086 mph), and will team with RJ Valentine. Paul Edwards--who will share the No. 64 TRG Pontiac GTO.R with Jan Magnussen--rounds out the top five with his time of 1:16.114 (115.879 mph).


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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Alex Gurney , Fabrizio Gollin , Memo Gidley , Christian Fittipaldi , Scott Pruett , Wayne Taylor , Bill Auberlen , Joey Hand , Kelly Collins , Luis Diaz , Jörg Bergmeister , Michael McDowell , Matteo Bobbi , Max Angelelli , Patrick Long , Justin Marks , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Doran Racing