O’Connell to start second, Cooper sixth

Elkhart Lake, Wis. – Cadillac V-Performance driver Johnny O’Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) will start on the front row for race one of the Pirelli World Challenge Championship (PWC) World Challenge Grand Prix of Road America this afternoon. Teammate Michael Cooper (Syosset, N.Y) will start from the third row.

O’Connell is right at home around the long and undulating four-mile, 14-turn Road America circuit located an hour north of Milwaukee. Behind the wheel of his No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe he was at the top of the time sheet in yesterday’s final practice. In qualifying he was on the provisional pole until a late charge by the Bentley of Adderly Fong put O’Connell to P2. His time of 2:04.22 will have him starting alongside the Bentley on the front row to take the green at 5:30 p.m. ET this afternoon.

“We just missed pole by two-hundredths of a second,” O’Connell said. “I am really pleased, everyone at Cadillac is performing well. We had some bad luck in SprintX, we lost a lot of points. We are battling back. The car is handling well here at Road America and it is a place I really like. We have a good hot rod. Hopefully we can bring some points back home after this weekend.”

Cooper, the PWC GT points leader, was able to turn just two times laps before a suspension issue halted his session early. His time of 2:04.99 was good enough for sixth and a third row starting position.

“I was on a pretty good lap, enough to get us up toward the front,” Cooper said. “Then in Turn 14 I went over the exit curb like you do here at Road America and I felt something funny in the front suspension and had to bring it to pit lane halfway through the session. In practice we focused on getting a good race car. We will review the data again from yesterday and today and be ready to go this afternoon. I can race from the third row.”

The Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Road America will run June 23-25. GT race one will take the green at 5:30 p.m. ET today. Sunday’s race two will start at 10:55 a.m. Follow the action at MotorTrendOnDemand.com. The race will be broadcast on the same day, Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on the CBS Sports Network.