Miami: Friday qualifying notes

MIAMI (September 26, 2003) - Scotland's Ryan Dalziel ( ...

MIAMI (September 26, 2003) - Scotland's Ryan Dalziel (#28 Pro-Works/Discovery Lake/Daily Record) threw down a blistering lap of 47.895 seconds (86.439 miles per hour)-a speed that would have placed him 16th on the provisional Champ Car grid-and claimed the provisional pole position for Sunday's Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic 100k at the Grand Prix Americas Presented by Sportsbook.com (SPEED Channel, Sunday, 12:00 p.m. ET).

As a result of his performance, Dalziel has guaranteed himself a front row starting position, and perhaps more importantly, moved him a step closer to clinching second place in the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama point standings. Dalziel has already earned his best starting position since taking the pole position for Round 5 at Portland-a race he would go on to win-and if he maintains his position in Saturday's final round of qualifying, it will be his first pole since that race and the fourth of his Toyota Atlantic career.

A familiar face was in the second spot at the end of provisional qualifying, as Canadian Michael Valiante (#19 Lynx Racing) was the day's runner-up with a best lap of 47.946 sec. (86.347 mph). Valiante has started second in each of the last two races, and he has qualified inside the top five in the past seven consecutive races. Topped by his second win of the season in Round 9 at Mid-Ohio, Valiante has not failed to finish outside the top four in any of those events.

2003 Toyota Atlantic champion A.J. Allmendinger (#4 RuSPORT) occupied the third spot on the provisional grid after turning in a best lap of 47.949 sec. (86.342 mph). The Californian has not failed to qualify outside the top three in any of his 11 career Toyota Atlantic starts this year, and goes into the final round of qualifying within striking distance of the pole position. If he is able to take the pole on Saturday, it will be his ninth of the season and will tie him with the legendary Gilles Villeneuve for the most poles for a driver in a single season.

Qualifying fourth was Team Rahal rookie Danica Patrick (#24 Argent Mortgage Company), who turned in a top time of 46.678 sec. (85.049 mph). If she is able to maintain her position after Saturday's final qualifying session, it will equal her career best qualifying performance in Toyota Atlantic competition, as she also qualified fourth at Trois-Rivieres early last month. It would also be the third time in her past five starts that she has qualified inside the top five.

Filling out the top five on the time chart was Aaron Justus (#3 RuSPORT) with a best lap of 48.773 sec. (84.883 mph). Justus enters final qualifying looking to extend his streak of top five qualifying performances to seven consecutive races, and he has started inside the top four in each of the past three events. He is also looking for his first career Toyota Atlantic victory.

Qualifying sixth was Mexican Luis Diaz (#33 Dorricott Racing/Telmex) at 48.911 sec. (84.644 mph), followed by Joey Hand (#27 DSTP Motorsports) in seventh at 49.030 sec. (84.438 mph). Eighth quickest on the provisional grid was Jonathan Macri (#84 NTN Bearings) at 49.157 sec. (84.220 mph), and rookie Marc Breuers (#12 Hamilton Lane) turned in the best qualifying performance of his young Toyota Atlantic career by placing his car ninth on the chart at 49.461 sec. (83.702 mph). After turning in the third quickest time in the opening practice session earlier in the day, Jon Fogarty (#1 Norwalk Furniture) lost seven spots in qualifying and is 10th on the provisional grid after turning in a best lap of 49.506 sec. (83.626 mph).

The only crash of qualifying came midway through the session when Kyle Krisiloff (#7 U.S. Grand Prix Formula One) slid sideways into the tire barriers at the exit of Turn 1. Krisiloff was not injured in the accident, but the car sustained suspension damage to its right side and was unable to continue for the remainder of the session.

Saturday's schedule at the Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic 100k provides for a 30-minute practice session beginning at 8:00 a.m. ET and will be followed by a final, 30-minute qualifying session beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET. Live Timing & Scoring data from every session is available on the official web site of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama, www.toyotaatlantic.com.

Quotes from the day's top three qualifiers follow below:

RYAN DALZIEL (#28 Pro-Works/Discovery Lake/Daily Record):

"I think, obviously, we're pretty happy with the result we had today. Sierra Sierra have worked really hard the past couple of races. We've kind of plateaued since midseason, and it's been a tough couple of races for us. We tested midweek at Sebring, and I think that was a really beneficial test for us, 'cause I think we learned some stuff. We had a couple of problems on the car that we seemed to have gotten rid of. Right out of the truck this morning, the car was awesome. We worked on it between now and then, and I think we've definitely made gains. It's easy to say, but I'm pretty sure we can find a little more time in the car. The car is not perfect, but we're going in the right direction. I think this track really separates the men from the boys, it's probably the toughest street circuit we've driven on. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I think we can make gains, and hopefully we can go for the pole and have a good race."

MICHAEL VALIANTE (#19 Lynx Racing):

"The biggest thing that changed from this morning is that it's just so much hotter. The tires seemed to go away a little bit quicker. With the track being so short, it's a challenge to get a clear lap because you're constantly coming up on lapped traffic, so that was a little bit tough. I think everybody will say that one of their fastest lap was slowed down by lapped traffic. Other than that, the car was good in the first session. When the times are so close like this, everyone has a shot at the pole. We just need a little bit for the pole tomorrow, and we're looking forward to it."

A.J. ALLMENDINGER (#4 RuSPORT):

"It's definitely a tough track because it's so short. For how hot it is out here, you don't get much time to rest. The session went very well. From practice, we had a little bit of work on it, and we made gains. There's still more gains to be made for tomorrow's session. I think I still have a chance for pole, and coming down, I guess it's the tight section down in the set of last corners, I didn't like how close the wall was to the track, so I tried to move it. It didn't move. For that reason, I thought I hit the right front. I tried to balance it out with the left rear coming out of the corner, and I hit the outside wall, and that one didn't move either. That pretty much ruined my good lap, and then I got traffic on my last lap. Overall, I think it was good, I think we had a shot at the pole. That was my good lap. We need to make progress on it tomorrow, and I think we have a direction, so I think it's going to be good. Congrats to Ryan (Dalziel) on today, and we'll go chase him tomorrow."

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Ryan Dalziel , Jon Fogarty , Michael Valiante , Joey Hand , Jonathan Macri , Luis Diaz , Gilles Villeneuve , A.J. Allmendinger , Marc Breuers , Aaron Justus , Danica Patrick