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Aug 24, 2014 - 06:36 AM
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Ferrari Rides Momentum To TUDOR Championship GTLM Pole At VIR
Posted by: newsla on Aug 24, 2014 - 06:34 AM
USCR News
Ferrari Rides Momentum To TUDOR Championship GTLM Pole At VIR, Kaffer Becomes Ninth Different Pole Winner In Nine Races


Riding a wave of momentum that began by winning the pole position at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the GT Le Mans (GTLM) race in the most recent TUDOR United SportsCar Championship round at Road America, Ferrari and Risi Competizione earned the pole position for Sunday’s Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway.

 

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Pierre Kaffer became the ninth different pole winner in nine races this season, lapping the 3.27-mile circuit in one minute, 43.797 seconds (113.414 mph) in the No. 62 Ferrari F458 Italia. Teammate Giancarlo Fisichella took the top GTLM starting spot at Indianapolis.

The Risi Competizione team recovered from an incident in morning practice to earn the top spot in the 15-minute session. The car was damaged less than three hours before qualifying when Fisichella made contact after going off in Turn 11. The team replaced or repaired the driver’s door, front fender, splitter, radiator and undertray to have the car ready for qualifying.

“It’s not so easy to just step in the car, like at a track here at VIR, where it is important to drive really on the right line,” said Kaffer. “The guys did a fantastic job after this morning’s incident, and this was one of the best cars I’ve ever had.”

Bill Auberlen seemed poised to earn his first pole of the season in BMW Team RLL’s No. 55 Crowne Plaza BMW Z4 GTE with a lap of 1:44.053 (113.135 mph) before Kaffer jumped to the top of the leaderboard with four minutes remaining in the session. Kaffer bettered that time on his next lap to grab the pole by 0.256 seconds. Marc Goossens qualified third in the No. 93 SRT Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R co-driven by Kuno Wittmer with a lap of 1:44.072 (113.114 mph).

Following a morning practice accident during which the points-leading No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R driven by Jan Magnussen sustained heavy damage, the team repaired the car and Antonio Garcia got behind the wheel to qualify sixth. That incident also caused heavy damage to the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR and sent driver Richard Lietz to an area hospital. Lietz was treated for a fractured arm and released from the hospital.

“What we witnessed today in the two hours and 20 minutes from when the Corvette Racing team got back a car that seemed unraceable to bringing it out for qualifying, and turn laps consistent with those that qualified on top, is one of the most amazing and proud moments I can remember,” said Corvette Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan, “There are moments in life that make you immensely proud. These guys are simply unbelievable.”

DAVISON CAPTURES SECOND CONSECUTIVE TOTAL POLE AWARD IN GTD
James Davison snared his second consecutive TOTAL Pole Award in GT Daytona (GTD) qualifying, running a lap of 1:47.660 (109.344 mph) in the No. 007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage.

Now, the 27-year-old Australian is looking forward to starting Sunday’s Oak Tree Grand Prix out front.

Although he won the pole for the most recent event at Road America, his car was badly damaged in the warm-up session on the morning of that race. That forced him to miss the event and sent his crew scrambling to get the car ready for VIR.

“We went through hell and back after last weekend,” said Davison, who now shares the class lead in poles with Spencer Pumpelly with two each. “We’ve been working non-stop, and we even missed the first practice yesterday. The team really did a great job and we finally got out halfway through yesterday’s second practice. I feel comfortable with the way it’s setup. It’s nice to win the pole, but it’s more important to have a good day tomorrow.”

Leh Keen qualified second with a lap of 1:47.957 (109.043 mph) in Alex Job Racing’s No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT America.

“We’re a little concerned, because the pole car put a ton of time on the field (.297 seconds),” Keen said. “But we’re really happy with qualifying. We’ve had a bunch of front-row starts this year, and a key point in the championship will be continuing to stay near the front of the field.”

Different manufacturers took the top four positions. Dane Cameron was third with a lap of 1:48.043 (108.957 mph) in the No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 co-driven by Markus Palttala.

The two-hour, 45-minute Oak Tree Grand Prix GTLM/GTD event begins Sunday at 4:05 p.m. (live, FOX Sports 1).


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