SONOMA, Calif. (June 24, 2006) – Venezuelan Rookie Ricardo Imery captured his first-ever SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship pole in preparation for this afternoon’s Round Five race, part of the Dodge/Save Mart 350 weekend at Infineon Raceway. Tommy Archer, of Duluth, Minn., will start second.-30-
Driving the No. 64 AXA Financial/Cavenas Elevators Porsche 911 GT3, Imery turned a fastest time of 1:17.943 (91.913 mph) around the 1.99-mile course on his first flying lap to take his first ever pole in his seventh career start.
“I was ready to go for today,” Imery said. “I’m still learning the new car. There’s less drag on the [911 type] 997 than the [older] 996. This car is much more aerodynamic.
“It’s going to be hot today in the race. I’ve got a cool suit, and that will help a little, but it’s going still going to be a challenge. With the track that hot, the tires are going to go away pretty fast.”
Archer, who earned a starting spot on the front row for the third time this season, turned a fastest time of 1:18.078 (91.754 mph) in the No. 5 c3controls/Dodge Motorsport Dodge Viper. While Imery’s fastest time came on his first flying lap, the traditional sweet spot for the series-spec Toyo Proxes RA-1 tires, Archer had to wait for a clear track on his second flying lap.
Defending series Champion Andy Pilgrim (No. 1 XM/Mobil 1/Motorola/On Star Cadillac CTS-V) will start third after turning a fast time of 1:18.198 (91.613 mph). Michael McCann (No. 82 McCann Plastics/K&N Filters Dodge Viper) will start fourth with a lap of 1:18.312 (91.480 mph), followed by Johnny O’Connell (No. 16 XM/Mobil 1/Motorola/On Star Cadillac CTS-V), with a fast lap of 1:18.425 (91.348 mph).
Missing from the top five in qualifying were the top two drivers in points. Point leader and top Piloti Rookie of the Year Lawson Aschenbach will line up ninth in his No. 66 AXA Financial Porsche 911 GT3, while second in points and defending race winner Lou Gigliotti will start 11th in his No. 28 LG Pro Long Tube Headers Chevrolet Corvette C6. Gigliotti did not finish the session after a broken differential stranded his Corvette on course with a few minutes remaining.
Today’s 40-minute timed race is scheduled to make its standing start at 4:20 p.m. (PDT). To follow live race notes and Live Timing and Scoring Presented by SRT, please visit the SCCA Pit Board through http://world-challenge.com/events/index.php?base=8&story=Dodge20Mart%20350. Today’s race will be broadcast July 8 on SPEED Channel. Check local listings for time.
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