CANADA (Sept. 3, 2005) – Leighton Reese, of Minnetonka, Minn., shocked nearly everyone during SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT qualifying in Bowmanville, Ont., by ripping off a 1:22.256 (107.620 mph) in the No. 6 Banner Engineering Chevrolet Corvette C6, which broke the previous Mosport International Raceway record and gave him the pole for today’s Round 10 race, part of the Labour Day Weekend Grand Prix of Mosport.-30-
Lou Gigliotti, of Dallas, Texas, made it an all-Corvette front row by running a 1:23.045 (106.597 mph) in the No. 28 LG Pro Long Tube Headers Chevrolet Corvette C6, while “Mad” Max Papis, of Miami, Fla., qualified third in his No. 16 XM.Mobil1/Motorola/Bose Cadillac CTS-V with a 1:23.195 (106.405 mph).
In a 20-minute session that saw both spotty rain showers and a red flag, little opportunity presented itself for SPEED GT drivers to turn a fast lap, and no one in the 23-car field took more than three laps. However, Reese wasted no time, setting the new Mosport qualifying mark on his first lap before the rain began, breaking the 2004 mark of 1:22.409 (107.420 mph) set by Canadian Ron Fellows in a Cadillac CTS-V.
“Traffic is always an issue in qualifying, and the tires have one spectacular or maybe two good laps,” Reese said. “But to have the outright speed you have to have in qualifying, you can’t have any traffic. I held way back and had about 800 or 900 feet between me and Stu Hayner ahead of me.
“I got the tires hot on the backside, and I went around Turn 8 and they were sticking pretty good. So, I started carrying some more RPMs through every corner, picked the throttle up a little earlier and went deeper into corners. I didn’t make any mistakes, hit every mark, and I knew it was going to be a decent lap. My crew chief told me the time was 22 and some change. I was hoping for a mid-23. I was dumbfounded.”
Locked in a tight battle for the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Manufacturers’ Championship Presented by RACER Magazine, Porsche and Corvette will fill the second row as German Mike Rockenfeller qualified fourth behind Papis in the No. 65 PFAFF/AXA Financial Porsche 911 Cup. Behind him, former-qualifying record holder Fellows, of Mississauga, Ont., will start fifth in the No. 12 Cadillac.
Saturday’s 30-lap race on the 2.459-mile, 10-turn circuit is expected to be a tight one as spots 2-13 on the grid are separated by just one second.
To follow the race live via timing and scoring, visit www.world-challenge.com.
Round 10 from Mosport will be broadcast on SPEED Channel Saturday, Sept. 10, at 1 p.m. (EDT).
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