BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct. 4, 2007) – Michael Galati, of Olmsted, Ohio, captured his first SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car pole in nine years today following Round Nine qualifying, part of the 10th Anniversary Petit Le Mans weekend at Road Atlanta. Seth Thomas, of Cumming, Ga., was second.
Under overcast skies and temperatures in the high 70s, Galati set a new track record with his pole-winning lap time of 1:32.956 (98.369 mph). Driving the No. 95 Mazda North America/Tindol Mazda 6, Galati’s effort earned him his 23rd-career pole in SPEED World Challenge competition.
“I’ve got to tell you that Tindol Motorsports has done a fantastic job all year,” Galati said. “It’s been an up and down year, but to come here and put the car on the pole it’s a great feeling. I’m happy for Chris Tindol, all of my crew guys and Mazda. It’s been a while since I was on the Touring Car pole. I am very happy.”
Thomas just missed the pole by 0.067-second in his No. 38 Bimmerworld BMW 325i. Thomas, who has more than 10-career race wins in various series at Road Atlanta, will start on the outside of the front row thanks to his best lap of 1:33.023 (98.298 mph).
“I think I definitely had a shot [at the pole],” Thomas said following qualifying. “I think our lap times show that we had a car that was fast enough. The good thing about it is we are only six one hundredths off the pole – that’s tight. So, anybody who is that close has a shot at it [the pole].
“It’s great to be on the front row in a BMW. I have confidence that I will get off the line really well and it should give me a huge advantage. I’ve got my teammate James right behind me. And, if we both get a good launch, by Turn Three, you should see two blue BMWs up front leading the race.”
Peter Cunningham, of Grafton, Wis., recorded the third fastest qualifying time with a 1:33.160 (98.153 mph) in his No. 42 Certified Pre-Owned Acura/RealTime Acura TSX.
Thomas’ Bimmerworld teammate James Clay, of Blacksburg, Va., will start fourth despite suffering from a sore dislocated shoulder. Clay’s fastest lap was a 1:33.338 (97.966 mph). Defending SCCA SPEED Touring Car Champion Pierre Kleinubing, of Coconut Creek, Fla., will start fifth after turning a lap of 1:33.499 (97.798 mph).
Kuno Wittmer (Acura RSX), Ian Baas (Audi A4), Brandon Davis (Acura TSX), Nick Esayian (Acura TSX) and Randy Pobst (Mazda 6) complete the top 10.
The standing start for Friday’s Round Nine race is scheduled for 10:45 a.m. (EDT). Live timing and scoring and live race notes will be available during the race via the SCCA Pit Board through the event home page www.world-challenge.com. SPEED will broadcast the race Saturday, Oct. 13 at 2 p.m. (EDT).