Long Beach: Team Cadillac qualifying report
Team Cadillac Sweeps Front Row in Long Beach SPEED GT Qualifying Fellows and Pilgrim Take Top Two Spots on Streets of Long Beach LONG BEACH, Calif., April 15, 2007 - Ron Fellows continued his mastery of the Long Beach street circuit, winning the ...
Team Cadillac Sweeps Front Row in Long Beach SPEED GT Qualifying
Fellows and Pilgrim Take Top Two Spots on Streets of Long Beach
LONG BEACH, Calif., April 15, 2007 - Ron Fellows continued his mastery of the Long Beach street circuit, winning the pole for today's second round of the SCCA SPEED World Challenge series with a track-record time of 1:25.086 (83.266 mph) in the No. 16 Cadillac CTS- V . Fellows will start alongside his teammate Andy Pilgrim, who claimed the outside front row starting spot with a 1:25.291 (83.066 mph) qualifying lap in the No. 8 Cadillac CTS- V .
Reigning SPEED GT champion Lawson Aschenbach will start his No. 1 Cadillac CTS- V from the eighth spot on the grid. All three Team Cadillac entries bettered the previous track record set in 2006 at 1:26.346 by a Dodge Viper.
"It's awesome to have two Cadillacs starting on the front row," said Fellows, who won last year's Long Beach race with a last-lap pass. "Long Beach is a big deal, and this is an important event for any manufacturer because it's such a great showcase.
"Qualifying was an adventure for sure - the first lap was run under the yellow flag to allow everyone to spread out, but it ended up with everyone stacked up," Fellows explained. "At the end of my first flying lap there were about 10 cars all coming to a stop before the hairpin. It was all I could do to avoid it and start over again."
Pilgrim ran his fast lap in the final minutes of the 20-minute qualifying session after an extended pit stop to allow the traffic jam to clear.
"It was exciting - with five minutes left they sent me back out to try for a clean piece of track and give it a shot," Pilgrim reported. "I was held up by traffic in the beginning, but I knew there was a little bit left even though the tires had gone off. I gained a couple of tenths and moved from third to second, and that was really good with old tires.
"My Cadillac CTS- V was good everywhere - it's great on braking and going through the turns," he added. "This is a great track for Ron, he's always rocket fast here. I use him as the benchmark, and I'm very happy to be within a couple of tenths of him."
Aschenbach also made two qualifying runs, but encountered traffic on both sprints.
"I was stuck in traffic on my first two laps, which would have been the good ones," said Aschenbach. "I caught the back of the field and was fighting for space. There was no point in staying out, so I came in and the crew bled down the tire pressures.
"I went back out and found some clear track, but by then the tires were pretty much gone," Aschenbach continued. "We're qualified in the top 10, so that's a good place to start. I always like the races better than qualifying, and there's no doubt that we'll have a good car for the race."
The second round of the SPEED GT series is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. local time (7 p.m. ET) on Sunday, April 15.
-credit: gm racing/tc