First Rolex pole for Pontiac GTO.R.
FRIDAY 9TH SEPTEMBER 2005
FRIDAY 9TH SEPTEMBER 2005
On a night where the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series GT class took a turn in the spotlight, Paul Edwards put the new Pontiac GTO.R on pole position for the first time for Friday's Phoenix GT 250 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Edwards turned in a best qualifying lap of 1min 02.506secs in the #64 TRG Pontiac GTO.R to score his first career Rolex Series class pole position. Edwards and co-driver Jan Magnussen will be looking to take their second GT victory of the season under the lights at PIR.
"This is awesome," he said. "It's been a long road for the GTO to get up on the pole position. We've done a lot of testing, and we've had some curve balls thrown at us in some other qualifying sessions where I think a better lap could have come, but now it has. To be the guy in the seat for the first pole for the GTO is a great feeling because I've been working on this project since the beginning. Pontiac has put up a huge effort. Jan got the first win and I got the first pole. I think the car will be good tomorrow."
Starting alongside Edwards on the front row will be Joey Hand in the #16 F1 Air BMW M3. Hand clocked a best lap of 1min 02.642secs and will be going for his fifth GT-class victory of the season. After co-driving with Justin Marks for the past several races, Hand will be paired with Ian James in Friday's Phoenix GT 250.
"This is the first time I've qualified a car in a long time," he said. "It was a little tricky with my buddy Justin in a different car. He's good at qualifying, so I was looking to up him. If I upped him, I thought we'd be one-two, but the #64 Pontiac is quick. BMWs are good on low, tight tracks like this. We have a good race setup on them. It's all about longevity. It's only a two and three-quarter hour race, but these cars are getting hot and the drivers are getting hot. We'll see what happens. PTG put together a good team."
Hand led the way for BMW Team PTG, which saw three of its cars qualify inside the top-five positions. Marks will start third in the #22 BMW Financial Services BMW M3 he will share with Bill Auberlen with Patrick Long in the #26 New Century Mortgage Porsche GT3 Cup he shares with Pat Flanagan starting fourth.
Tom Milner rounded out the top five in the #21 BMW Financial Services BMW M3. Milner and co-driver Kelly Collins head into the Phoenix GT 250 looking for their second consecutive win after taking the class win in the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.