Ferrari on Pole for WSC Championships (with Qualifying Results)

25 October 1997

Laguna Seca, CA -- Setting an incredible pace in the #30 MOKART/Playpiso/ITS 
Ferrari, Andrea Montermini and Antonio Herrmann will start from pole position 
in tomorrow's Visa Sportscar Championships Presented by Porsche.  With a 
time of 1:17.311, for an average speed of 104.21 mph, Montermini blistered 
the field by a full half-second. The#27 Lista Ferrari with Didier Theys and 
Fredy Lienhard was second in qualifying with a time of 1:17.980, for a speed of
103.31mph. 

The battle between Dyson Ford teammates Butch Leitzinger and Elliott-Forbes 
Robinson carried into qualifying with Leitzinger, in the #20 Ford,  setting 
the fourth fastest time with a lap of 1:18.464, for a speed of 102.68mph.  
James Weaver in the #16 Ford qualified fifth, with a time of
1:18.636, for an average speed of 102.45.

Montermini's quick lap of the day was on the third lap of the session. 
Montermini offered "that the lap could have been quicker but I missed the 
exit by one inch on turn #2." The qualifying trim and race set-up will be 
quite different but the Ferrari teams all seem to have found their stride 
in the last three races.

Missing from qualifying was the Danka/Toshiba Copiers Oldsmobile of Wayne 
Taylor and Eric Vande Poele. Taylor complained of being down on power during
yesterday's three practice sessions.  To remedy the situation a new engine is 
being flown in today. The team, to say the least, has had a character-building 
year.  Missing qualifying will relegate the team to the back of the field. 
Should the team have a similar race like Sebring, Taylor and van de Poele will 
be near the front within a few laps. The Sebring race appeared to be theirs 
for the taking, until losing an engine in the last thirty minutes.

Tire wear will certainly play a role, as it does in any race. In WSC, the teams
must start the race on their qualifying tires. A small bit of strategy is at 
work with the Ford team. Of all the top qualifiers, Leitzinger put the fewest 
number of laps on his tires. Seven to be exact. With a late starting time for 
the race tomorrrow  (3:00 PM PST) the track will have a lot of debris from the 
FIA GT race. The  2-hour race will be a virtual sprint with interruptions for 
fuel, tires and caution flags. 

A concern expressed by some of  drivers is the speed disparity between the 
first and last qualifier. Sixteen miles per hour separate Montermini from the 
last place car of  Bruce and Spencer Trenery. The top seven cars are covered 
by  two seconds. From there,  the drop-off is an average of one-half second per
car. Things could get intersting!

Qualifying for The Visa Sportscar Championship Presented by Porsche WSC
POS	Car#	Driver(s)			Car		Time
1	30	Hermann/Montermini		Ferrari 333SP	1:17.311
2	27	Theys/Lienhard			Ferrari 333SP	1:17.980
3	 3	Salazar/Velez			Ferrari 333SP  1:18.274
4	20	Leitzinger/Paul,Jr.		Ford R&S III	1:18.464
5	16	Robinson/Weaver			Ford R&S III	1:18.636
6	43	Morgan/Hall			Ferrari 333SP	1:19.316
7	21	Caffi/Montani/Chiesa		Chevy R&S	1:19.630
8	 4	Jochamowitz/Pace		Olds R&S III	1:20.281
9	 2	Nelson/Clark			Ford R&S III	1:20.619
10	88	Jones/Bentley			Chev R&S III	1:21.044
11	03	McCarthy/Auberlen		BMW URD	1:21.277
12	60	Donley/Wilson			Ford KeilerII	1:21.608
13	17	Mucha/Field			Courage/Olds	1:22.363
14	63	Downing/Katz/Freon		Mazda Kudzu	1:22.993
15	28	Gregg/Sellers/Field		Olds Spice	1:23.558
16	62	Grupp/Debban			Mazda/Kudzu	1:24.221
17	95	Volk/Bell			Chevy/Kudzu	1:27.086
18	19	Davin/Montgomery		Buick Kudzu	1:29.232
19	51	Trenery/Trenery			Chevy Cannib.	1:31.544
20	 1	Taylor/van de Poele		Olds R&S III	No-Time
21	29	TBA				Nissan Matrix	No-Time
22	40	TBA				Pontiac/Benn	No-Time

David Treffer -- The Auto Channel

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