Round 3 and 4 of the 2009 Cooper Tires Atlantic Championship Powered By Mazda season at the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, New Jersey finally arrived and after a memorable weekend 4 weeks ago the Team Stargate Worlds crew were anxious to get the weekend activities started.
Practice for the team had mixed results. The first half of the Team Stargate Worlds duo, Simona De Silvestro, quickly showed that her Utah dominance was no fluke by leading much of the practice session. She was closely being trailed by Newman Wach's driver John Edwards. Though Edwards would go on to finish P1 for the session, Simona finished closely behind him in 2nd. The team's overall impression was positive as De Silvestro's car looked strong and looked to be even stronger for the upcoming qualifying effort. Frankie Muniz's session was unfortunately very brief. A small oil leak caused an engine blow up on lap #1 ending any chance for Muniz to get some valuable practice laps. Undeterred the team went straight to work on replacing the engine for the #077 entry.
Qualifying threw a wrench in everyone's plan when weather conditions brought light rain soon after the session had begun. De Silvestro once again started off strong as she quickly climbed to P2 and maintained that position until after midway through the session (Lap #14). After the change De Silvestro continued her charge and shot up to P1. The rest of the field soon caught up and De Silvestro began shuffling between 2nd and 5th place. Genoa Racing's Jonathan Summerton put on a late session charge and took P1 with De Silvestro trailing behind in P2. The session would go on to end in that order.
Muniz qualified without even putting in a full practice lap, however, he was up for the challenge and immediately stormed onto the track and quickly excelled himself to the eighth spot. Shortly after he got his tires up to temperature the rain began to fall and the team called him into the pits for a tire change. Times stayed unchanged as a result of the wet conditions and with eight minutes left the team called him in again for another tire change as the track was now drying and the car required slick tires. Frankie's time would fall one position to ninth as the session drew to a close.
Frankie Muniz, Driver No. 77 - "Even though it was a mixed day I'm looking forward to tomorrow and seeing how our qualifying session goes, as well as our first race. Today, despite the engine problem, the team managed to regroup and get me up and running for qualifying. Tomorrow will be a fresh start and I'm looking forward to racing once again."
Simona De Silvestro, Driver No. 78 - "Well I'm happy to be starting on the front row once again. The session was interesting and had its challenges but I have to give credit to the Team Stargate Worlds crew and engineer Burke for giving me a great car. I think the car still has more in it but we're in a good position for tomorrow's race and I'm hoping for a great result."
Imran Safiulla and Shane Seneviratne, Principals Of Team Stargate Worlds- "Today was a bit of a mixed day. Simona did a great job in qualifying the car, considering we had such a mix of weather, with rain and sun all during the session. She managed to stay consistent and focused despite the obstacles. Frankie had an unfortunate day but at the end he managed to still put on a great qualifying effort considering he had not run a full lap prior to qualifying. For practice he had an oil leak which caused his motor to blow up so credit to the team for getting him ready for the qualifying session."