Skeen, Galati Break Records in World Challenge Qualifying at CTMP
Jun. 23, 2012 - CANADA -
Mike Skeen, of Charlotte, N.C., and Michael Galati, of Olmsted, Ohio, each broke the existing Pirelli World Challenge GT and GTS Canadian Tire Motorsport Park track records in qualifying for today’s Motul CTMP Grand Prix Presented by Optima Batteries Pirelli World Challenge. Galati’s effort secured the first-ever series pole for Kia.
Galati earned Kia's first-ever pole position (Weber Image)
Driving the No. 02 Hawk Performance Chevrolet Corvette, Skeen became the first Pirelli World Challenge driver to run a sub-1:19 lap, turning a 1:18.598 (112.628 mph) to break his previous qualifying mark of 1:19.310 (111.617 mph) set in 2011.
Immediately following the session, Skeen jumped into a Porsche 944 as a guest driver in the local 944 Cup series.
Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., also ran faster than the previous track record, turning a 1:19.043 (111.994 mph) in his No. 6 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60. Pobst’s teammate, Denver’s Alex Figge, will start third in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60 after turning a fast lap of 1:19.335 (111.582 mph).
Runaway Championship leader Johnny O’Connell, of Flowery Branch, Ga., will start this afternoon’s race fourth in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R after turning a 1:19.597 (111.215 mph), followed by teammate Andy Pilgrim’s No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R, with a 1:19.741 (111.014 mph).
In the Pirelli World Challenge GTS class, Galati earned his 24th-career Pirelli World Challenge pole driving the No. 36 Kia Motors America Kia Optima, the first-ever for a Kia automobile. Not only did Kia score its first pole, but it swept the front row for GTS, with local favorite Mark Wilkins putting the No. 38 Kia Motors America Kia Optima in second. Galati’s lap of 1:25.302 (103.777 mph) broke the existing track record of 1:26.578 (102.247 mph).
“Winning the first pole for Kia is fantastic,” Galati said. “This is my favorite track. I’ve had a lot of wins here and I call this my ‘home’ track. The Kia Optima and Kinetic Racing did a fantastic job. The car was superb. This is a big lift for the whole team.
“All my thoughts are with my teammate in the other series, Mark Pombo, who had a terrible accident yesterday [at Road America]. This is for him and I hope he is feeling better.”
With his teammate alongside, Galati likes the chances for Kia to also record its first race win in Pirelli World Challenge competition this afternoon.
“Our car really likes fast corners,” he said. “We’ve been struggling in the slow corners—mid corner. But on the fast corners, the car is really, really good and this is a very fast racetrack. Every time we go out, we improve the car and we go a little bit faster. I’m honored to give Kia the pole and hopefully we can win the race.”
Toronto’s Aaron Povoledo qualified his No. 26 Total Lubricants/Dell Cherries Ford Mustang Boss 302S third on the grid, with a 1:26.150 (102.755 mph). Jack Baldwin (No. 68 Team Hot Wheels/GT Sport/PNR Porsche Cayman S) was fourth, with a 1:26.266 (102.617 mph), followed by Alec Udell’s No. 16 MDG/Ford Racing/Kart Nation Ford Mustang Boss 302S, which turned a fast time of 1:26.445 (102.405 mph).
Today’s combined Pirelli World Challenge GT and GTS Round Eight race, the Motul CTMP Grand Prix Presented by Optima Batteries, makes its standing start at 1:15 p.m. (EDT).