Lakeville, CT (July 17, 2009)- Team Stargate Worlds Lime Rock Friday Report
Team Stargate Worlds arrived at the Lime Rock track hoping to continue the success it experienced at its last event at the New Jersey Motorsports Park. In that dominating performance, Simona De Silvestro led every lap from the pole and went on to win the race. At the same time overtook the Championship point's lead, while teammate Frankie Muniz finished ninth, continuing his streak of top-10 finishes. This weekend's event would test the team's resolve and abilities in their overall quest to maintain Simona's points lead and Frankie's top-10 finishing streak.
After leading the practice session De Silvestro and the team prepped for the upcoming qualifying session and were unceremoniously greeted by rain showers. With the understanding that the session would now be a wet qualifying session Simona and her crew, guided by race engineer Burke Harrison, quickly scrambled and adapted the car to the new conditions. She climbed into her #78 entry for the session not knowing how the weather would affect her qualifying opportunity. After the first couple of laps it became clear her times were very competitive, but her fellow Atlantic Championship competitor Borja Garcia owned the top spot for much of the session. With every lap it appeared that De Silvestro would have to settle for second. On her last lap a determined De Silvestro carved around the track with precision and speed and crossed the checkered flag. Immediately the Team Stargate Worlds crew looked up at their monitors and saw Simona at the top of the time sheet. Silvestro had indeed bested Garcia's time and earned herself a pole position. This is her third pole position of the 2009 Cooper Tires Atlantic Championship Powered By Mazda race.
After a promising practice session earlier in the day, which had his #77 entry in the fourth place spot, De Silvestro's teammate Frankie Muniz also took to the wet track for his qualifying session. The Scottsdale, Arizona resident powered down and focused every lap on a perfect lap but, with the rain affecting everyone, Muniz had to deal with slower traffic. Though he tried, it became painfully clear that traffic, caused by the rain, would dash all hope of an uninterrupted lap. Undeterred, Muniz kept his focus and clawed his way into the tenth spot on lap twenty, which is where he would end up finishing. Muniz has earned a top-10 qualifying result for every race this season.
Frankie Muniz, Driver No. 77 - "While the session didn't yield the results I would have liked, a top-10 at this track is still a very good accomplishment. Thanks to my crew and engineer Gerald Tyler for their hard work. We will go over the data and come back tomorrow stronger and determined to have a great race and continue to the team's goals and success. Congratulations to Simona for a great session. Hopefully, Team Stargate Worlds will have a very successful race tomorrow."
Simona De Silvestro, Driver No. 78 - "I am so happy about this result, especially since we had rain and that really tested us as a team. A lot of thanks go to my engineer and crew for dealing with the rain and still giving me a great car. This pole is important because after our break we still have been able to maintain our momentum and I'm hoping that tomorrow we will capitalize on this success."
Imran Safiulla and Shane Seneviratne, Principals Of Team Stargate Worlds- "The team was very impressed with Simona's qualifying session and her ability to adapt to the difficult changing weather. She never panicked and maintained her focus throughout the session and when it counted she made it happen and put a great lap together. We are equally impressed with Frankie's performance. His result was a result of bad timing and rain. He gave his all on the track and overcame his obstacles resulting in a top-10 spot, and continues his top-10 qualifying run"