Porsche Teams Ready For Watkins Glen Six-Hour Challenge Shortened Qualifying Session Helps Teams Gain Good Grid Spots WATKINS GLEN, NY - June 6 - Normally, having Porsche customer performance teams collectively starting fourth, sixth and 12th ...
Porsche Teams Ready For Watkins Glen Six-Hour Challenge
Shortened Qualifying Session Helps Teams Gain Good Grid Spots
WATKINS GLEN, NY - June 6 - Normally, having Porsche customer performance teams collectively starting fourth, sixth and 12th would have been pause for celebration and Saturday's Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen will have Porsche-powered entries in the aforementioned positions.
However, Friday's 15-minute qualifying session at the famed Watkins Glen International circuit was cut short when one of the competitors went off course less than five minutes after the green flag fell. Because it took the remainder of the session to move the car, the times recorded stood as official qualifying times. And, of course, there is also the matter of the race itself, a six-hour long challenge of endurance racing and seventh stop of the 2008 Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16. Thanks to David Donohue's lap of 1:43.740, good for an average speed of 117.976 miles per hour around the 3.4-mile circuit, he will start fourth in tomorrow's race. Donohue, of Malvern, Pa., will share the No. 58 Porsche-Riley with Darren Law of Phoenix, Ariz.
"The Brumos Porsche would have been in good shape no matter how long the qualifying session was and we might even have been better," Donohue said. "This is our worst qualifying of the yearour first time out of the top three and we've already had two poles this year. I think there was a lot more to come out of the car. But it's a six-hour race and the key tomorrow is to stay within striking distance and see how the race unfolds." Bill Auberlen gave his team's brand new Crawford-Porsche a good first outing by setting the sixth fastest time at 1:44.760 (116.838 mph). Auberlen, of Redondo Beach, Cal., and Joey Hand of Sacramento, Cal., will see how No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Alex Job Racing entry fares in its debut race. Friday morning's practice marked the first time the car had run.
The team owner was pleased with the result.
"We qualified sixth and I can't tell you how pleased I am," Job said. "The new Ruby Tuesday Porsche-powered Crawford didn't turn a lap until this morning's practice session. And while it's the same engine, chassis and suspension, the body is completely new and that changes everything. Considering that, I couldn't be more pleased.
"It's a six-hour race and for us with all of the changes brought about by the new bodywork and aero package, it's going to be a six-hour test session for us." The second Brumos entry, the No. 59 Porsche-Riley of Portugal's Joao Barbosa, J.C. France of Daytona Beach, Fla., and Hurley Haywood of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., will start in 12th position. France got only one "hot" lap at 1:46.847 (114.563 mph) when the black flag halted the session.
Henzler Third Fastest In GT Class Qualifying
While the DP Class had its qualifying session, the GT Class competitors were able to run the entire 15 minutes allotted. Germany's Wolf Henzler led the charge of Porsche customer performance 911 GT 3 Cup cars by posting the third fastest time in the class at 1:52.969 (108.348 mph). He will share the No. 87 Farnbacher Loles Racing entry with fellow countrymen Dominick Farnbacher and Dirk Werner.
"I'm happy with the qualifying," Henzler said. "Third position is OK. I did the time in my first lap and after that, I couldn't go faster. I did a cool-down lap and tried again, but again, I couldn't go faster. The car was pretty good today in the qualifying. The crew worked very fast and did a good job, even though there was not much time between the last practice and the qualifying. With Dirk and Dominik, it's a good driver lineup. I hope we can finish on the podium tomorrow."
TRG entries also cracked the top 10 in qualifying. Bryan Sellers of Dacula, Ga., was eighth fastest in the No. 68 Porsche 911 GT 3 Cup he will share with R.J. Valentine of Braintree, Mass., and Randy Pobst of Atlanta, Ga.
"We qualified eighth and we were quickest of the TRG cars," Sellers said. "(Richard) Westbrook is one of the best drivers to ever sit in a Porsche, so to even be in the same league as him is a great thing. It's a good effort by everybody. I think we have a stellar race car that can hang onto those laps for a good while, which is what really matters." TRG teammate Richard Westbrook of England was ninth fastest in the No. 66 Porsche 911 GT 3 Cup to be co-driven by Ted Ballou of Corona Del Mar, Cal., and Bryce Miller of Hoboken, N.J.