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ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (June 20, 2014) – Cadillac Racing drivers Johnny O’Connell and Andy Pilgrim will start first and fourth for this afternoon’s Pirelli World Challenge Series GT race at Road America. Due to rain the SCCA officials cancelled qualifying and have set the grid based upon driver points.
The World Challenge Series FIA GT3 specification cars topped the time sheet in yesterday’s practice sessions. O’Connell was ninth fastest in practice with a time of 2:09.453, Pilgrim was tenth with a 2:09.495 lap. Tomas Enge paced the GT field in his Lamborghini with a time of 2:08.222. The high downforce of the FIA GT3 spec cars are showing their strength around the four-mile, 14-turn natural terrain road course located 30-minutes north of Milwaukee.
“We kind of lucked into the pole,” O’Connell said. “We have some amazing handling Cadillac CTS.V.Rs here this weekend. The engineering staff at Cadillac Racing have us really feeling good about the cars. We came here thinking that the GT3 cars would have a big advantage on us here at Road America. They showed it yesterday with Andy and I being ninth and tenth on the time sheet. I love to qualify, but getting a pole when you are ninth in practice due to weather, heck I will take it.”
O’Connell would welcome a rain race.
“Right now for the race it is looking like it will be dry,” he continued. “It is easier to hold position as opposed to making it up when your hot rod is a little down to the competition. We just have to execute. We will have to perform perfectly at all ends from car preparation to race craft. The wet might work to our advantage with our driving experience and the knowledge of our CTS.V.Rs in the wet. We will take whatever Mother Nature gives for the race this afternoon. I applaud the officials for making the call on qualifying, you don’t want to lose cars in bad conditions when you don’t have to.”
Pilgrim will take a fourth place starting position today.
“It is excellent to start fourth today,” Pilgrim said. “It is a shame we didn’t qualify, everyone likes to push themselves and their cars in qualifying. If it was damp it would have been interesting, but there was just too much water. So we lucked out a little bit with that call. I think we would have qualified in the top six somewhere. We now have to take advantage of the starting positions in the race.”
“It is still raining,” he continued. “The last time I ran here in the rain was more than 10 years ago. This place can be tricky in the wet. In the previous touring car session they lost a couple of cars because of standing water. Standing water is tough to deal with. The rain will level the playing field for sure. I think it is looking like it will be dry for the race. Johnny and I will have our work cut out for us to keep the positions we have been given. My Cadillac is good in the dry, so we just have to take advantage of what has been given to us.”
Race one of the Pirelli World Challenge Series at Road America will take the standing start this afternoon at 3:15 p.m. CT. Tomorrow’s race will go off at 9:10 a.m. The race weekend will be televised on NBC Sports, Friday, July 4 at 6:30 p.m. ET.
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