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Australia's Skelta qualifies second in class and fifth overall for the 90th running of the Iconic Pikes Peak event.

First day of practice was in fact Qualifying for the Open class division at Pikes Peak today with some surprising results. The competitors only got two runs at the lower section of the hill where all the qualifying is done, due to a few hold-ups and 'offs'.

The result: Jeff Denmeade, driving the Australian made Skelta from Queensland, finished second in class and fifth overall, with a time well under the previous record. However, there wasn't much he could do about 2010 LeMans Champion Romain Dumas with his factory $500,000 Porsche RS-R on slicks in the same class, which got the fastest overall qualifying time!

Denmeade did beat Pikes Peak legend Randy Schranz (owner of constant wins in Open class) by 2 seconds. His time was 4:36.48 in the little Skelta, beating Randy by just 2 seconds in Qualifying.

"We can come out of this maybe not overly pleased with the result, but very happy with the effort," said Denmeade. "And it is Pikes Peak... The impressive part is we have given Australia's Skelta its first ever podium in Qualifying at this iconic event, the first for an Australian made vehicle!

"There was nothing we could do in slippery conditions of a 'green' road, except drive at a pace that would offer us our best chance for position, including avoiding an oil spill on the road that went for some distance. Despite coming second we are very, very pleased.

"The Skelta's high speed balance and aero was simply terrific, even on the bad off-camber higher speed corners, the car just gripped. It was a fast run and even my navigator, Catherine Hammond, said she has never called out notes at such a pace. It felt good!

"With day one in the books we now look forward to the next two days of practice, before the big day on Sunday. The buzz we get from being in this town, especially with the Skelta, is amazing, and the resilient people of Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak area are amazing, despite just recently going through some horrifying bush fires."

Denmeade continued: "We just love the people here and the atmosphere, it's amazing. We didn't even have to pay for our tyres to be changed over at the local tyre store, they refused money, such is the respect the town has that has forged this event into the hearts of motoring enthusiasts from around the world.'

View the Pikes Peak Qualifying results here: http://www.usacracing.com/ppihc/ts/2012
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