CLEVELAND (June 26, 2005) – “Mad” Max Papis captured his first-career SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship pole position in preparation for Sunday’s Round Five race at Burke Lakefront Airport, part of the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank. Former Cleveland winner Lou Gigliotti, of Dallas, will start on the outside of the front row.
Driving the No. 16 Team Cadillac/XM Radio/Mobil 1/Motorola/On Star Cadillac CTS-V, Papis turned a blistering 1:17.692 (97.585 mph) lap to edge Gigliotti by just 0.016-sec. Papis, who has six previous Cleveland starts in the Champ Car World Series, earned his first-career SPEED GT pole in just five starts.
“I found traffic on my first run,” Papis said. “I knew that we had a little bit more in the car. This track is a momentum track and not really a bonsai track. I knew it [the fast lap] was going to come because I got blocked on my first run. So, when I got blocked, I saved my tires and set my fast lap toward the end.
“It is completely different,” Papis said of the differences between racing the Cadillac CTS-V and a Champ Car on this track. “It feels like being on a completely different track. But, having competed in the Cleveland Grand Prix for six or seven years it gives me a little bit of an advantage over some of the people who have not been here. Not so much in terms of speed, but in terms of developing the car. I was able to focus on the car and not so much my driving or my line.”
Gigliotti topped the 20-minute session in his No. 28 LG Pro Long Tube Headers Chevrolet Corvette C6 for seven minutes with a best lap of 1:17.708 (97.565 mph), until Papis returned to the track for his second attempt at the pole. Gigliotti is the only driver to ever win a SPEED World Challenge race at Cleveland, taking the B Class win in 1992—the series only other appearance at Burke Lakefront Airport.
“We did ours on our first [flying] lap,” Gigliotti said of his fastest qualifying lap. “We did it on fresh, brand new tires. And, that’s the best they ever are. We just got beat by 0.016 of a second.
“Now that we are on the front row,” Gigliotti added about his strategy heading into turn one at the start of the race. “We’ll get through there before anyone can catch up and crash us. Usually someone comes from the seventh or eighth row and they come barreling down the inside and whatever car happens to be at the apex gets T-boned because the inside car cannot stop. But, we’ll see. Generally the first two or three cars get through and we are lucky enough to be on the front row. I will get through turn one with Max [Papis], that’s no problem.”
German Wolf Henzler (No. 55 Applied Materials/Farnbacher Loles Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup), who won the most recent SPEED GT race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, will start third after turning a lap of 1:17.783 (97.471 mph)—just 0.091-sec. off pole.
Scotland’s Robin Liddell was fourth fastest in his No. 66 AXA Financial/PFAFF Porsche 911 GT3 Cup—just 0.095-sec. off pole with a 1:17.787 (97.466 mph).
Team Cadillac teammates Max Angelelli and Andy Pilgrim were fifth and sixth in the session—still within 0.2-sec. of the pole.
Leighton Reese (Corvette C6), point leader Tommy Archer (Dodge Viper), James Sofronas (Porsche) and Stu Hayner (Pontiac GTO) completed the top 10.
Today’s race is set to make its standing start at 4:20 p.m. (EDT), with coverage starting on SPEED Channel at 5 p.m. Tune in and locate the Toyo Tires Driven To Perform Sweepstakes camera car for a chance to win a set of Toyo Tires and a trip to the SPEED GT season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Oct. 14-16.
To follow today’s live timing and scoring and access all the SCCA SPEED World Challenge weekend information, please visit www.world-challenge.com.
Link to story: http://www.scca.com/News/News.asp?Ref=336