Leighton Reese qualifies his Banner Engineering Corvette C-6 in 9th for Sunday's SPEED World Challenge GT Series race at St. Petersburg Florida St. Petersburg, Florida: (April 2nd, 2005) Leighton Reese of Minnetonka Minnesota went out onto the...
Leighton Reese qualifies his Banner Engineering Corvette C-6 in 9th for Sunday's SPEED World Challenge GT Series race at St. Petersburg Florida
St. Petersburg, Florida: (April 2nd, 2005) Leighton Reese of Minnetonka Minnesota went out onto the St. Petersburg track on this clear and cool day and blasted his Banner Engineering Chevrolet Corvette C6 in time of 1:20.098 (or 80.901 MPH lap average speed) on his first hot lap which would eventually qualify him 9th for Sunday morning's SPEED World Challenge GT Series race.
While the qualifying time put Leighton right in the hunt for Sunday's race Reese felt that there was much more in the car.
On a tight street track traffic is always an issue and the cement lined streets of the St. Petersburg Florida track were no exception Saturday for Leighton Reese as he was on his qualifying lap for Sunday's SPEED World Challenge GT race and got balked on his hot lap.
"We have a great car capable of qualifying as high as 3rd or 4th today," lamented Reese after his qualifying run.
"Mike McCann was ahead of me on our out lap, some 800 feet and I thought that would be enough to get a clean lap," said Reese continued. "But McCann slowed way down going into the chicane at the end of the lap and I caught right up to him. I had to drag race him down the pit straight and lock up the brakes to get past him into the first turn!"
"I had to take a very early apex into one and that was pretty much all it took," Reese continued. "I am hearing now that Mike McCann is mad at me but I had cars behind me so I had to go past him!"
Reese's time of 1:20.098 put Leighton 1.212 seconds behind the pole time of 1:18.886 recorded by German driver Wolf Henzler in a Porsche 911. Robin Liddell was second fastest with a time of 1:19.250. Liddell is also driving a Porsche which are expected to do well on this street track at St. Pete.
The rest of the top qualifying times are amazingly close as Reese is .339 seconds behind the factory Cadillac CTS-V of Max Papis and defending series champion Tommy Archer's Dodge Viper who ran identical 1:19.659's. Papis will start 3rd because he recorded his time seconds before Archer crossed past the scoring timers.
As far as Sunday's 9:45 AM GT race Leighton Reese is optimistic.
"We've got a good race car and should do well in the race as long as we can get a good start and stay out of trouble in the early laps," Reese said of his Banner Engineering Corvette C6.
"No, the car is great," Leighton said of any possible set-up changes for the race. "I think we are right there and we should be OK for the race. We will nail down the rear end with a full tank of fuel and we'll be ready to go!"
The 50 minute sprint race that will determine the winner of Round 2 of the SPEED World Challenge Series GT will start at 9:45 AM Eastern Time and will be broadcast in it's entirety on Sunday April 10th at 2 PM Eastern Time on the SPEED Network.