TRG Qualifies Four Porsches Strong at VIR
Petaluma, CA —
TRG qualified their four Porsches in the top 18 for tomorrow’s running of the Grand-Am Rolex Series Bosch Engineering 250 to be run at Virginia International Raceway.
Justin Marks led the TRG charge with a tenth place qualifying effort with a time of 1:54.002. Marks is teamed with veteran TRG driver, Andy Lally, in the No. 67 Construct Corp/No Fear Energy Drinks/Voodoo Ride/Kartel Motorsports/K1 Speed/Gemstone Winery/TRG Porsche GT3. Marks is coming off a couple of seasons of NASCAR racing and is getting reacquainted to the sports cars and doing it well. The duo lead the GT points as a result of their win at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona in February.
“It has been since 2005 that I was here last,” Marks said. “We are fighting a tough battle with limited practice time and getting the car tuned into the track. We had to give Andy his laps this morning to tune the car so I got limited laps. I am relearning the course. Relative to the other Porsches and the rest of the GT field the times are really tight. I wish I had better than a tenth place starting position. It is a process of me getting the feel of these cars again, but I will get there. We will need every minute of the warm-up session tomorrow and we have a good idea of how to get the car consistent for the race.”
John Potter qualified the No. 65 Riegel/Stanton/Cystic Fibrosis Foundation/65 Roses/Magnus Racing/TRG Porsche GT3 in 13th with a time of 1:56.304. Potter is teamed with 2005 Grand-Am GT champion Craig Stanton.
“I got more relaxed as the day went on,” Potter said. “The track and the car is coming to me. I have been here before so I know where the lefts and the rights are, I am getting back into the flow. I had a real cool spin in qualifying coming out of the Esses. I was able to run my best lap of the day in qualifying which is always the goal.”
Ted Ballou, piloting the No. 66 AXA/Mitchell Rubber/Wealth Management Strategies/TRG Porsche GT3, put in a lap of 1:54.959 and will start from the sixth row in GT. Ballou is running with Spencer Pumpelly and the pair are looking back up their strong Rolex 24 run of second place.
“The car is good,” Ballou said. “Spencer is a good teammate and knows these cars. We are able to drive the track the way we want to. Spencer was real quick in the last practice. My qualifying lap was ok. I got some brake lock-up on my fast lap, so that cost me a little bit. Overall I am happy with the car and my effort.”
Josemanuel Gutierrez No. 68 Cohen Financial/TRG Porsche had a rough start to the VIR weekend. In practice he went off track and hit the guard-rail head-on causing damage to the TRG Porsche. The crew did an excellent job to get the car back together in time for qualifying. Gutierrez will start from the ninth row based on his qualifying time of 1:59.551. Scott Schroeder shares the driving duties with Josemanuel.
“The run was really good after my mishap this morning,” Gutierrez said. “I slowed down my mind a little bit in qualifying and came back up to speed slowly. We only did about ten laps today. This is my first time at this track and I was able to get under two-minutes which I am happy about. I think I can do better, I am going step-by-step. We will be fine. The TRG crew did a great job to get the car repaired and we were able to qualify. I thought we were done for the weekend, but they did a great job.”
Team owner Kevin Buckler is ready to race.
“We had a good day at VIR to really get our season going after a nearly three-month break,” Buckler said. “The guys are getting back into the rhythm of driving and we have some guys who are racing here for the first time. We still have some work to do in the morning warm-up session, but we will be ready to race.”
Round two of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series to be run at Virginia International Raceway on Saturday, April 25th will be televised live on the SPEED Channel starting at 2:30 p.m.