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Super Touring Qualifications at Laguna Seca: Report and Results

8 September 1997

Laguna Seca, CA-Points leader David Donohue may have the championship lead 
but he is not resting on his laurels.  In the first qualifying session for 
race #1, Donohue secured pole position and broke the track record set by 
Randy Pobst last year.  Donohue toured the challenging 14-turn, 2.238 mile 
course in 1:31.147 for an average speed of 88.393mph.  Aside from the pole 
position Donohue added 1 more point to his championship lead.  Following 
closely behind Donohue were Neil Crompton and Peter Cunningham.  Crompton 
turned in a time of 1:31.370 for an average speed of 88.177.  Cunningham 
turned in the third fastest time of the 1st round with 1:31.653 for an 
average speed of 87.905mph.  For Cunningham the qualifying results were 
less than satisfactory.  His second-place standing in the championship 
fight required that he win both pole positions to gain the two valuable 
points to cut into Donohue's lead.  None the less Cunningham was 
optimistic about his over-all chances he commented, "that he would not 
quit without a good fight for Donohue."

In the Independent's Challenge Ford driver David Welch was the fastest.  
Welch turned in a time of 1:32.382 for an average speed of 87.211.  Randy 
Pobst followed closely behind with a time of 1:32.492 for an average speed 
of 87.108mph.  For Pobst, the news was good in that he will be starting 
race #1 ahead of the Mazda driver Bob Schader.  Pobst is 3 points behind 
Schader in the fight for the Independent's Challenge Championship

Qualifying Round #1

Driver				Marque		Time
1)David Donohue		Dodge		1:31.147/88.393
2)Neil Crompton			Honda		1:31.370/88.177
3)Peter Cunningham		Ford			1:31.653/87.905
4)Dominic Dobson		Dodge		1:32.079/87.498
5)David Welch*			Ford			1:32.382/87.211
6)Randy Pobst			BMW		1:32.492/87.108
7)Forrest Granland		Honda		1:34.935/84.866
8)Bob Schader			Mazda		1:37.339/82.770
9)Paul Charsley			BMW		1:41.992/78.994
10)Dave Jolly			Pontiac		1:47.209/75.150
11)Darren Law			BMW		No Time
12) Roberto Quintanilla	Honda		No Time

#Donohue breaks existing track records set by Randy Pobst last year.
*Independent's Challenge Top Qualifier-David Welch

The second round of qualifying became the Crompton/Donohue show.  Crompton 
set a fast time early in the thirty-minute session.  The session was 
interrupted by Forrest Granland's spectacular shunt in turn 5.  
Fortunately, Granland was OK.  However, his Honda appeared to be a 
write-off for the two races.  The interruption of qualifying left only 
five minutes in the session.  When the track was cleared Donohue turned in 
a spectacular time of 1:30.957. Not to be outdone, Crompton on the 
following lap turned in a blistering lap of 1:30.679.  By setting the 
fastest time Crompton moved 1 point closer to second place in the over-all 
championship.  In the process Crompton broke Donohue's string of five 
consecutive pole positions and shattered Donohue's earlier track record by 
.5 of a second.

The Independent's Challenge qualifying was dominated by BMW driver Randy 
Pobst who surprised everyone by setting the fourth fastest time 
(1:31.751/87.811mph) of the afternon.  Pobst commented, referring to the 
handling of the car "that the beast has finally been tamed."  Ford driver 
David Welch ended up sixth with a time of 1:32.423/87.173.

Qualifying Round #2

Driver				Marque		Time
1)Neil Crompton			Honda		1:30.679/88.849
2)David Donohue		Dodge		1:30.957/88.578
3)Peter Cunningham		Honda		1:31.023/88.513
4)Radny Pobst*			BMW		1:31.751/87.811
5)Dominic Dobson		Dodge		1:31.810/87.755
6) David Welch			Ford			1:32.423/87.173
7)Forrest Granland		Honda		1:33.962/85.745
8)Bob Schader			Mazda		1:35.048/84.765
9)Paul Charsley			BMW		1:36.318/81.946
10)Ron Emmick			Mazda		1:42.440/78.648
11)Dave Jolly			Pontiac		1:45.105/76.654
12)Darren Law			BMW		No Time
13)Roberto Quintanilla		Honda		No Time

#Crompton breaks track record set by Donohue (1:31.147) with a time of 

*Independent's Challenge Top Qualifier - Randy Pobst

David Treffer -- The Auto Channel