Skerlong Sets Fastest Race Lap Despite Tremblant Troubles St. Jovite, Quebec (July 01, 2007) -- Carl Skerlong's hopes of a strong finish in Round 7 of the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda were ...
Skerlong Sets Fastest Race Lap Despite Tremblant Troubles
St. Jovite, Quebec (July 01, 2007) -- Carl Skerlong's hopes of a strong finish in Round 7 of the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda were dashed on lap three at Canada's Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Quebec on Sunday as a pit-call for a new nose cone following contact relegated the American rookie to an eventual 19th place finish at the checkered.
The sweeping 2.65-mile circuit presented few overtaking opportunities throughout the running order with Carl's mission in the #24 King Taco/US RaceTronics entry simply to make up as much ground as possible having been relegated to dead last after his pit-stop. Having lost so much time, and with just one solitary full course caution offered up over the 34-lap charge, Carl's pace, though competitive as he set the fastest lap of the race, wasn't enough to make an impression and the 18-year-old could only salvage three points from the weekend to hold ninth overall in the Driver Standings on 78.
Qualifying earlier in the weekend had been more promising for the reigning Formula TR Pro Series 2000 Champion, the rookie looking to put a disappointing 20th place starting effort from Cleveland the week before firmly behind him. Setting the eleventh fastest time on Friday with a 1m28.573s (106.529mph), Carl then improved his time on Saturday to a 1m27.369s (107.997) but with the track proving faster he maintained 11th overall to secure a sixth row grid slot for Sunday's race. Pole went to France's Franck Perera, the GP2 Series veteran taking top spot for Condor Motorsports with a hot lap of 1m26.426s (109.175mph) in Saturday's session.
Launching off the start line for the 50-minute race on Sunday, Carl cracked the top-ten immediately but his progress was to be short lived as contact at the re-start at the end of lap three following a brief full course caution would result in a trip to pit-lane for a new nose cone. With two cars out of the 24-car line-up already, Skerlong re-joined back in 22nd and last but still holding on to the lead lap. Putting pedal to the metal Carl logged the fastest lap of the race on his thirteenth tour of the circuit, his lap time of 1m27.157s (108.260mph) earning him a bonus point for his efforts.
Climbing two spots to 20th before mid-distance, Skerlong's next target was Brian Thienes in the #19 Condor Motorsports entry, the American 14 seconds ahead on-track. Reeling off lap after lap with times comparable to and faster than race leader Franck Perera, Carl eradicated Thienes' advantage, the rookie passing for 19th on lap 32 and staying there to the checkered. Franck Perera led from lights to flag to take his first series win with series leader Raphael Matos second and James Hinchcliffe third.
"Well hopefully our pace here today will serve as further motivation to get back on it in Toronto next weekend," stated Skerlong. "We had the fastest car on track and should have been challenging at the front but it wasn't to be. It's frustrating but we stayed on the lead lap and still scored some points!"