2015 Pikes Peak Hill Climb: Practice Day 2
Millen Fastest In Qualifying, 'Monster' Tajima Will Start Third
The Californian ran faster than he expected in the first run of the morning, and then improved by four seconds in the second session. The large margin between first and second runs was down to his relative inexperience with the Latvian-built eO PP03 electric car. "There is so much more in the car - there's probably another 20 percent left in the car. It purely comes from my lack of time behind the wheel," Millen said. "The car is faster than I am. It's the first time in 22 years I've said that. I'm looking for more out of myself and that will only come with time."
Second behind Millen was noted Porsche-enthusiast Jeff Zwart's 911, the only gasoline-powered car in the top three. Zwart's qualifying time of 4:00.75 on his third run surprised the Pikes Peak veteran only because conditions were the best he's ever seen, he said."The car is always solid and nice. I've been here 16 years (and) the road was the best I've ever seen it today. Pikes Peak is a living organism and it changes minute by minute, and things were exceptional today," Zwart said.
The day wasn't as kind to former winner and 64-year-old racer Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima. Although Tajima's time of 4:06.80 was good enough to qualify for third, the veteran Pikes Peak pilot expected more. "Obviously we have a couple [of] problems, but we're just trying to work through them," said Team Manager Paul Wilder. He went on to say that Tajima is still relatively unfamiliar with his car, which has more power than previous years. "Really, the car got here straight from Croatia. Working through a few localized issues has limited the amount of time [Tajima's] had with car," Wilder said.
Qualifying continues Thursday with smaller or slower classifications. Although those cars will still be competing for overall placement, it's likely that Wednesday's qualifying will set the eventual top order for Sunday's race. Honda's hyped LeMans Prototype ARX-04B didn't participate in qualifying Wednesday after sitting out practice on Tuesday with technical problems. It's unclear if that car will practice this week or even race on Sunday.
Wednesday marked the first day of qualifying and the second day of practice. Electric-modified, Unlimited, Time Attack 1 and Exhibition classifications qualified on the bottom third of the 12.42-mile course. Open wheel, vintage, electric-production and the second group of Time Attack cars practiced on the middle third. Motorcycles practiced on the top third of the 14,000-foot peak.
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