Photo by John Thawley Watkins Glen (June 8, 2007): Paul Edwards of Fort Collins Colorado blasted the #07 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R to the pole position for Saturdays Rolex Grand-Am Sahlens Six Hours of the Glen to capture the first pole position for the Banner Pontiacs in the 2007 season. Andy Pilgrim, who will co-drive with Leighton Reese and Tim Lewis Jr., qualified the #06 Banner Engineering Pontiac into the 6th position.
We are definitely happy with that, said team owner Leighton Reese after the qualifying session ended on an unusually hot and sultry day more reminiscent of the Deep South than Upstate New York. Paul did a masterful job getting Banner and Pontiac their first GT pole position of the year!
We knew that we had the car to do it because the Banner Pontiac GXP has been strong throughout both days so far, Paul Edwards said of his pole winning performance in the #07 Banner Pontiac GXP.R he will share with his usual co-driver Kelly Collins in the race.
The crew has been working really hard on the setup and the track has been changing all weekend but they have doing a great job staying on top of things. We really didnt get a chance to do a new tire run in this heat so we werent sure that our balance was going to be right but it was!
Right the Banner Pontiac was because Edwards initially took the pole position on his first timed lap with a time of 1:54.213 with Andy Pilgrims first lap of 54.876 good enough for 3rd at the time.
But that soon changed as moments later Wolf Henzler recorded a 53.935 on his first lap which at the time seemed to cement the #74 Tafel Porsche onto the pole. Because try as the deep field of GT entrants would no one seemed to have anything for Henzlers time.
No one that was until Paul Edwards cycled up the #07 Banner Pontiac again on his 3rd lap coming closer with a time of 1:54.043. Paul pushed harder on his 4th lap and ripped off his record breaking time of 1:53.823 winning the pole from a stunned Henzler.
There was still a bit more in the car because I didnt get everything out of it, Paul Edwards said of his last ditch attempt on lap 4. I hung a tire off the track twice on that lap because I was really driving it hard. It probably didnt look very pretty but it worked out!
Andy Pilgrim slid back a bit to qualify 6th as he was unable to match his first lap attempt of 1:54.876 let alone improve on it.
My first lap was my best lap and I got held up on the last three corners, Andy Pilgrim said of his qualifying run in the #06 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R. We didnt have the rear springs on it that we wanted but we didnt have the time after practice to change them so we knew that the car wasnt going to be exactly like we wanted it. We knew that the first lap was going to be the best lap. We knew that it was a compromise going in.
We would have liked to get the 06 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP up there as well but it is a 6-Hour race and we are at the sharp end of the grid, Reese said. We spent our time working on a race setup so we should be ready to go for the race.
The Sahlens Six Hour of the Glen, Round 7 of Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve GT Championship, will begin on the historic Watkins Glen International track at 11:00 AM Eastern Time on Saturday June 9th. The race will be broadcast live on SPEED TV and via the Internet at www.Grand-Am.com.
For additional information about the Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R race cars and the Banner racing Team go to their website at www.BannerRacing.com or www.LeightonReese.com .