Pontiac GXP.R teams will make up the first two rows for Monday’s running of round six of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 GT race at Lime Rock Park. The GT only weekend has first time pole sitter Tim Lewis Jr. in his Autohaus Pontiac GXP.R starting from the point.
Lewis is the defending race winning driver, having won the event last year in the Banner Pontiac with Leigthon Reese. Lewis and teammate Lawson Aschenbach are looking to get on the podium for the first time this season. The duo is currently ninth in points and are coming off of a disappointing weekend where late race car contact had them finish the race on pit lane.
“This is a good result for the team after our Laguna result,” Lewis said. “I was able to get a clean lap right off of the bat in qualifying. The tires came in and I put in a fast lap early, I think on lap three. We came into to do a slight bar change because the rear had gotten a little loose, but I couldn’t get a clean run in traffic and the lap time held up. I won here last year in a Pontiac so I am hoping we can do it again on Monday. The Autohaus team makes improvements with the car each race and do a great job preparing the GXP.R.”
Starting next to the No. 72 will be the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac of Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell. Davis put in a lap of 52.458 to share the front row. The Georgia resident has another front row start and will be looking to add to the team’s trophy room with a third. Mexico City and Virginia International Raceway were the sites of the team’s victories so far this season. Last weekend at Laguna Seca early race contact sent the Stevenson GXP.R to pit road for extensive repairs resulting in a finish several laps down to the leaders.
“I had a fast lap going and then I came up on another car and that was just enough to slow me down,” Davis said. “I went into the session believing I could get the pole. I had a pole run going then had to go slightly off line with the traffic and that was just enough to cost me a tenth. The car is good we have been up at the top of the charts all weekend. It got a little loose after about three laps, but that is typical with these tires. I wanted to get a good starting position after our tough race at Laguna.”
Jan Magnussen was at the controls of the No. 06 Banner Racing Pontiac for qualifying. Posting a lap of 52.641 has the Dane starting from the third position. Magnussen is teamed with fellow sportscar ace Ron Fellows.
“When the tires came in the car was really good,” Magnussen said. “I had two good laps and then the tires tend to drop off. When the tires drop off the rear-end goes to loose. The field is very tight and there are all Pontiacs at the front, so the start will be interesting. Ron and I have a lot of laps here so I think we will be fine for the race. Qualifying was the first time we put new tires on this weekend. When we were practicing on the old tires we had a well balanced car.”
Kelly Collins qualified the No. 07 Banner Pontiac in fourth with a time of 52.758. Collins and teammate Paul Edwards are the GT series points leaders and have accumulated two wins so far this year at Homestead-Miami Speedway and last weekend at Laguna Seca.
“I was in traffic for most of the session,” Collins said. “I am not sure if I had a car that was good for the pole, but I know I could have been closer. I was able to get one clean lap and that is when I put in my fast time. The car went from push to oversteer in turn five. When I was running in traffic the car was really good. Other than that the car is groovy.”
The Lime Rock GT Classic will be televised live on the SPEED Channel, Monday, May 26 starting at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Top 10 Grand-Am GT Lime Rock Qualifiers:
1. Aschenbach, Lewis Jr., Pontiac GXP.R 52.393
2. Davis, Liddell, Pontiac GXP.R 52.458
3. Magnussen, Aschenbach, Pontiac GXP.R 52.641
4. Collins, Edwards, Pontiac GXP.R 52.758
5. Tremblay, Ham, Mazda RX-8 52.904
6. Phinny, Alessi, Pontiac GTO.R 52.994
7. Lux, Keen, Porsche GT3 53.271
8. Farnbacher, Werner, Porsche GT3 53.333
9. Sellers, Valentine, Lally, Porsche GT3 53.517
10. Contantine, Pappas, Mazda RX8 53.571
Pontiac Powered GT Cars Entered for Lime Rock:
06 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R, Ron Fellows, Jan Magnussen
07 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R, Kelly Collins, Paul Edwards
21 Connolly Motorsports Pontiac GTO.R, Diego Alessi, Ryan Phinny
57 Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R, Andrew Davis, Robin Liddell
72 Autohaus Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R, Lawson Aschenbach, Tim Lewis Jr.