Grand AM » 03 August 2007
Fogarty, Collins hand Pontiac Montreal double.
Jon Fogarty drew closer to the single-season record for overall pole positions with fastest time on Friday morning at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve earning the GAINSCO/Bob Stalling driver his fifth straight pole and sixth overall in 2007 for the #99 Pontiac Riley.
The team's twelfth consecutive front row start came a day after co-driver Alex Gurney said the Pontiac had more in it following its second practice session, and Fogarty duly improved the pair's best time by more than a second, finishing off a five-lap qualifying run with a time of 1min 35.071secs. The lap was just over two tenths of a second faster than fellow front row starter Jan Magnussen, who piloted the #10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley to P2 on his seventh and final lap.
Fogarty credits his Formula Atlantic experience at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve - which included a victory and a second-place finish - as one of the reasons he was able to post another Daytona Prototype pole. He is now one short of the single-season mark of seven set by James Weaver in 2001 and matched by Max Papis in 2004.
"I was able to turn a quick lap in qualifying and I think a lot of it had to do with familiarity," Fogarty said, "Alex and crew chief Kyle Brannan have also competed here before, so we had a good idea of what we needed to do to be quick coming into the weekend. I think it was an advantage but, nonetheless, the car's working very well. That's really the key."
Second place marks the SunTrust team's best start since round five Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and Magnussen will start the race before handing the car over to Max Angelelli, who is second in the championship by eleven points to Scott Pruett.
"I think our lap was pretty good," Magnussen said, "I backed off the second-to-last lap to get a good run on the final lap."
Fan favourite Patrick Carpentier qualified third for his hometown race with a time of 1min 35.851secs in the #11 SAMAX/CITGO Pontiac Riley. Co-driving with Kris Szekeres, Carpentier has not run outside the top five in any session he's been in all weekend - and also set the fastest time in Thursday morning's NASCAR Busch Series practice session.
"I'm happy where we are," Carpentier said, "We've been struggling with the car for the last three months, and even changed the suspension set-up during the last race. Both ends of the car are working much better, especially the front and the braking. Yesterday, we made four and five changes, and every one of them was very good and made the car better and better. The car was very fun to drive this morning; it just kept getting faster and faster. Just to be back up front, like the beginning of the year, is good."
Nic Jönsson turned in the fourth quickest Daytona Prototype time in the #75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley, while Canadian Mark Wilkins rounded out the top five in the #61 AIM Autosport Lexus Riley, ahead of Pruett's Chip Ganassi team-mate Memo Rojas.
The GT class also proved fruitful for Pontiac, with Kelly Collins scoring his third straight pole and a fourth consecutive top spot for the #07 Banner Racing GXP.R. Setting a time of 1min 42.610secs, he admitted the track had more grip during the 15-minute session than it had at all on Thursday.
"The track was the best that it's been since we've been here," Collins said, "On that first lap, I realised there were places I could get more power than I had yesterday, when I was slipping the car. Actually, on the pole lap, I had traffic, but it was my own team-mate [Leighton Reese]. I got a draft off him and passed him and one of the Mazdas. Everything was on the money, and I got a draft. It worked out really well. I think our car definitely has an advantage - the Pontiac GXP.R definitely runs well here."
Starting alongside Collins will be the #70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 of Nick Ham and Sylvain Tremblay, while the second row consists of the #87 Farnbacher Loles Motorsports Porsche of Bryce Miller and Ham's team-mate Emil Assentato.
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