O’Connell Qualifies 3rd, Pilgrim 7th in for Team Cadillac in Cadillac Sports Car Grand Prix at Laguna Seca
CTS-V Coupes Have Good Spots for Penultimate Race in NoCal
Strong performances bode well for Team Cadillac in Round 11 of Pirelli World Challenge at Laguna Seca
MONTEREY, Calif.– Qualifying for the Pirelli World Challenge is important, because the series is among the very few that use a standing start. Team Cadillac drivers Johnny O’Connell and Andy Pilgrim will have a good path to the front in Sunday’s Cadillac Sports Car Grand Prix at Laguna Seca after qualifying third and seventh, respectively, on Saturday morning.
O’Connell will line up on the inside of the second row for Sunday’s 27-lap or 50-minute event on the 2.238-mile road course, and Pilgrim will be inside of row four when the green flag waves.
O’Connell clicked off a lap at 1:25.934 in his No. 3 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe, a full second faster than he practiced on Friday. He was second on the grid until the last lap of the session, when Randy Pobst took the pole at 1:25.499 in a Volvo.
Pilgrim was in the top five until the final flurry, ending with a lap at 1:26.564 in the No. 8 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe.
“The biggest thing for me about this weekend was, we figured out what was wrong at Sonoma,” O’Connell said afterward. “Even though we got a second in the first race, the second race was one of the most miserable races…the car was diabolical.
“The engineering staff at Cadillac did a great job and we’re back where we should be, with the car behaving well. I was pleased with my laps, and I don’t think there was much left out there. I am confident of having a good car tomorrow.”
O’Connell has his eyes on second place in the points, a spot currently occupied by James Sofronas. “I hit my goal today, which was to qualify ahead of him,” O’Connell said. “At this point, he’s only a few points up, so I’m concentrating on finishing ahead of him too.”
Pilgrim had troubles with traffic and never could get a clear shot at another fast lap once he set his fastest.
“We were seventh in practice yesterday, and I was thinking to myself that if I did a good job, I could move up from there,” Pilgrim said. “I did a good job, but we had a couple of issues with traffic and a couple with dirt down in Turn 6. All my laps were within a tenth of a second, which is not what you usually see in qualifying.
“We had two good laps going, and they both got messed up. I’m happy with the way I drove, but I’m disappointed in not getting those few extra tenths that would have put us up in fourth, closer to Johnny. It’s a fight to get into the top 10, because everyone is so darn close. I’m just disappointed we didn’t put one down.”
Sunday’s race, which is Round 11 of the Pirelli World Challenge season, will take place not in the relative cool of the morning, but in the heat of the day on the Monterey Peninsula, beginning at 2:20 p.m. PDT.
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