Fogarty and Gurney Fastest at Mid-Ohio
Qualifying for Saturday’s EMCO Gears Classic presented by Key Bank, Round 6 of the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16, nearly came down to a dead heat before Jon Fogarty put down a tie-breaking lap of 1:18.059 (104.136 mph) Friday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Fogarty and Alex Gurney will be seeking a record third consecutive victory at Mid-Ohio in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley in. The two-hour, 45-minute race takes the green flag at 5 p.m. ET Saturday (SPEED, live).
In GT qualifying, Eric Lux was awarded the pole position with a lap of 1:25.892 (94.640 mph) in the No. 86 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3. Teammate Leh Keen led qualifying with a lap of 1:25.257 (95.344 mph) in the team’s No. 87 car, but the time was disallowed in post-qualifying inspection.
With time winding down in the 15-minute Daytona Prototype session, Fogarty and Memo Rojas were tied with identical laps of 1:18.439 (103.632 mph). Fogarty broke the logjam on his penultimate lap to earn his ninth career pole, but first since 2007 in Infineon Raceway.
“It was pretty crazy, turning identical times, but I think Memo did his fast lap first so the pole would have gone to him had the tie been maintained,” Fogarty said. “I pushed a little bit harder. The car seemed to be getting better as the run went along, so it came kind of naturally. I didn’t have to take a whole lot of risk for the time to come down. It’s interesting, because usually that isn’t the case. Quick times are generally turned in earlier in the session.”
Gurney and Fogarty currently lead the Daytona Prototype competition with two victories this season in the No. 99 GAINSCO Pontiac Riley. Rojas and co-driver Scott Pruett won their first race of the season in the No. 01 TELMEX Lexus Riley in the most recent race at Watkins Glen International to gain a share of the Daytona Prototype point lead with Brian Frisselle and Max Angelelli, co-drivers of the No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara, with 140 points.
“They didn’t tell me I was tied for the pole, I didn’t find out until after the session,” said Rojas, who won poles in both of his prior qualifying efforts this season. “That was pretty cool. It was a tough qualifying session. Everybody struggled because of the little track time we had today and the weather conditions. For us, we were guessing because we weren’t happy with the car this morning. We threw a crazy setup at it, and it was okay. But we will work on the car in Saturday’s early practice session. I think everybody is still looking to get their cars up to the highest level.”
Mark Wilkins was third-fastest in the No. 61 AIM Autosport Ford Riley, 1:18.694 (103.296 mph), and will share the second row with Brian Frisselle (103.281 mph).
“Qualifying was a big improvement for us,” Wilkins said. “We tried something in the last practice and it didn’t work. So we went with our wet setup from earlier today and took a gamble. I think it paid off.”
Nic Jonsson qualified fifth in the No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Lola co-driven by Ricardo Zonta (103.222 mph), and will be joined in the third row by Romain Dumas, who shares the No. 12 Penske Racing Verizon Wireless Porsche Riley with Timo Bernhard (102.797 mph). The two Penske Racing drivers are tied for Gurney and Fogarty for third in the standings, six points behind the leaders.
Rounding out the top 10 qualifiers were Guy Cosmo, John Pew, Mark Patterson and Darren Law.
Lux was awarded his second career Acxiom GT pole when teammate Keen’s record-eclipsing lap was disallowed due to a height infraction. The two drivers teamed to win last year’s GT race at the 2.258-mile circuit, but are driving different cars this season. Lux will share the team’s No. 86 Porsche GT3 with Dominik Farnbacher, while Keen currently shares the GT point lead with Dirk Werner after the pair won two races this season in the team’s No. 87.
“It was really difficult trying to get the car ready for qualifying today, with rain in our first session today,” Lux said. “We were still struggling with the car at the end of practice, so the team and (chief engineer) Lars Giersing did a great job guessing on the setup, and it worked. I cooked the tires before the black flag midway through the session, and was worried we wouldn’t be able to go faster after it went back to green. So I gave it everything I had to try to be on the front row, and I guess it was just enough.
The post-qualifying infraction moved Tom Sutherland to the front row after he ran a lap of 1:26.171 (94.333 mph) in the No. 30 Racers Edge Motorsports Mazda RX-8 co-driven by Dane Cameron.
“Qualifying second is definitely very good for me,” said Sutherland, who will be making his second career start in the series (Rolex 24 At Daytona, 2006). “We took a chance and parked the car late in the session because it started sprinkling. I didn’t want to take any chances. I laid down a pretty good time and thought that was as good as I was going to get. It’s good to be back with Jon Mirachi (he raced for the team in Formula Mazda two years ago). It’s a lot of fun being with Jon, and he’s got a great crew and a great car. I think Dane and I will do pretty well.”
Andrew Davis will start third in the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R co-driven by Robin Liddell (93.823 mph), and will be joined on the second row by Kelly Collins, who ran a lap of 93.744 mph in the No. 07 Banner Racing Drinkin’ Mate Pontiac co-driven by Paul Edwards.
Rounding out the top 10 were Justin Marks, Nick Ham, Emil Assentato, John Potter, Duncan Ende and Patrick Dempsey.
– Courtesy the Grand-Am SeriesNo Comment