Pontiac GTO.R On Pole For Sahlen's Six Hours Of The Watkins Glen

Pontiac GTO.R On Pole For Sahlen's Six Hours Of The Watkins Glen

03.06.2006: Pontiac GTO.R On Pole For Sahlen's Six Hours Of The Watkins Glen

Qualifying Cancelled due to Practice Postponement - Grid Positions Awarded by Team Points

After a day of postponed Daytona Prototype (DP) practice, all Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series cars were once again on track to practice. Since Daytona Prototype practice sessions for yesterday evening and this morning were cancelled, Grand American officials decided that qualifying would be cancelled and grid positions would be awarded by team points. Subsequently, the #65 TRG/F1 Air Pontiac GTO.R of Andy Lally, Marc Bunting and R.J. Valentine will start the race from the GT pole position and the #10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley of Max Angelelli, Wayne Taylor and Ryan Briscoe (third in team points and the leading Pontiac DP) will start on the second row of the DP grid in the third position.

Daytona Prototype practice was cancelled due to contractual conflicts between the Indy Racing League (racing here this weekend with the Rolex Series) Watkins Glen International and the Rolex Series. Under the existing contract, competitors under the age of 18 are not allowed to compete at any race track the same weekend where an IRL event is taking place (due to tobacco sponsorships). Colin Braun, a 17-year old driver of the #76 Krohn Racing Ford Riley, had been granted an injunction by a New York State Supreme Court judge allowing him to race. Honoring the contract, Grand American cancelled all Daytona Prototype activity until the IRL had left the track, but Tracy Krohn, team owner of the #76 car, has now elected to withdraw Braun as a driver and tomorrow's Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen will continue as scheduled, sans qualifying sessions.

"We want our fellow teams and drivers in the Rolex Sports Car Series to be able to race this weekend as scheduled," said Krohn, who campaigned two Pontiac DPs with TRG last year. "It is important that the race goes on."

In today's practice, Ryan Dalziel posted the fastest lap by a DP Pontiac, he took the #89 Pacific Coast Motorsports Pontiac Riley to a best time of 1:45.596 at an average speed of 115.913 mph. Quickest in the DP class was the #23 Alex Job Racing/Emory Motorsports Porsche Crawford with a time of 1:45.466 at 116.056 mph.

"I'm stoked about today's performance - it's been a tough couple of days here for everybody and I think we did a great job," said Dalziel. "Actually I think everybody did a great job to deal with the situation as we had it. But out car has been good out of the box, all credit to Pacific Coast, Playboy, Vonage and Pontiac that we rolled off the truck competitive. That's why we're up there, to be honest. If you can roll off the truck competitive with limited track time it makes your job that much easier and we did that today."

Pontiac fared well in practice with its GT cars as well; the #64 TRG/iRise GTO.R of Paul Edwards, Kelly Collins and Andy Pilgrim was second quickest today, they posted a best time of 1:57.752 at 104.298 mph. Fastest was the #72 Tafel Racing Porsche GT3 Cup of Robin Liddell and Wolf Henzler, they will start tomorrow's race from the front row, second position.

"We're not struggling at all but we're down on power in the straightaway compared to the Porsche," said Collins. "In braking and mid-corner speed we're pretty much tapped out. We're losing grip and sliding either the rear or the front. We're close to a match around here. I think that during the race we might have problems with the Porsches in the sense that we might get through corners a little bit better but they'll go down the straightaway faster. It will be dog and cat for a continuous lap."

DP points leaders Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz of the #01 Lexus Riley will start the race from the pole position next to the #19 Ford Crawford of Michael McDowell, Memo Gidley and Guy Cosmo.

The Rolex Series will race tomorrow at Watkins Glen International for the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen endurance race. Daytona Prototypes and GT class racers will share the circuit on June 3 at 2:30 p.m. EDT with the event televised live on SPEED TV.

-Steve Smith-

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03.06.2006 / MaP

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