LEXINGTON, Ohio (May. 19, 2006) - At Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT drivers Lou Gigliotti, of Dallas, Texas, and Michael Galati, of Olmsted, Ohio, posted an identical fast time of 1:28.396 (91.959 mph) to lead combined practice Friday in advance of Saturday's SPEED World Challenge GT fourth-round race, part of the SPEED World Challenge Presented by Trenton Forging Quality Formed Solutions weekend. Ricardo Imery, of Caracas, Venezuela, was next, just 0.003-sec. off the leaders" pace.-30-
After more than half of the expected 31-car field chose to bypass the extremely wet morning practice session, Gigliotti, in his No. 28 LG Pro Long Tube Headers Chevrolet Corvette C6, and Galati, in his No. 24 At Speed Motorsports Volvo S60R, each took their stab at the 13-turn, 2.258-mile course.
After Gigliotti held an early advantage, Galati, who is making his 2006 SPEED World Challenge debut this weekend at his home track, jumped to the front with the day’s best time. Not to be outdone, Gigliotti rebounded to post the exact same time. Imery then followed with his time, which bunched three different marques within the tight time frame.
"The worst part of the weekend has been the mud, but the best part of the weekend is being in the car,” Gigliotti said. “We didn’t have any catastrophes. We had no mechanical problems, no off-course excursions. We kept the car totally clean. All we have to do is gas it, wax it and go qualify. So, to me, so far as I’m concerned right now, it is an awesome weekend.”
While happy with Friday’s results, Galati appeared to be somewhat cautious afterward on his prospects for the rest of the weekend.
“It feels good,” Galati said. “But, we haven’t tested a whole lot, so we don’t know what the car will do in the long run. We have a little bit of history with some problems with parts on the car. But, hopefully, we have those resolved and will have a good run for the race.”
Imery, in his No. 64 AXA Financial/Cavenas Elevators Porsche 911 GT3, led the session near the midway point before his time settled just behind the pacesetters.
Current SPEED GT Drivers’ Championship points leader Mike McCann, of N. Canton, Ohio, was fourth with a 1:29.129 (91.202 mph) in his No. 82 McCann Plastics/K&N Filters Dodge Viper, and Johnny O’Connell, of Flowery Branch, Ga., was fifth in the No. 16 XM/Mobil 1/Motorola/On Star Cadillac CTS-V with a 1:29.227 (91.102 mph).
SPEED GT qualifying is set for 9:15 a.m. (EDT) Saturday morning, prior to tomorrow evening’s SPEED World Challenge GT Round Four race Presented by Trenton Forging Quality Formed Solutions. The green flag is scheduled to fly at 6:05 p.m. (EDT).
To follow qualifying and race action via real-time lap notes and Live Timing and Scoring presented by SRT, visit www.world-challenge.com, click on the Mid-Ohio event page and select the SCCA Pit Board.