MONTREAL, Quebec, Canada (August 22, 2003) - A tremendous effort prefaced a tremendous result as Luis Diaz, of Mexico City, expertly maneuvered around Montreal's Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve to finish fourth place in provisional qualifying...
MONTREAL, Quebec, Canada (August 22, 2003) - A tremendous effort prefaced a tremendous result as Luis Diaz, of Mexico City, expertly maneuvered around Montreal's Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve to finish fourth place in provisional qualifying for Saturday's 10th round of the 12-race Toyota Atlantic Championship.
Diaz, who was coming off one of his better morning practice sessions of the season where he ran as high as third quickest, recorded a fast lap of 1:33.972 (103.780 mph) in the Telmex//Dorricott Racing Swift 014a. Michael Valiante, of Canada, won the provisional pole with 1:33.225 (104.611 mph).
Today results create a near "showdown" style of final qualifying on Saturday morning in preparation for tomorrow afternoon's 27-lap race (73.143 miles) around the 13-turn, 2.709-mile Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.
Although Valiante is confident and experienced at Montreal, he will be challenged in final qualifying by Diaz as well as provisional outside pole sitter Aaron Justice (1:33.781 103.991 mph) and third place qualifier Danica Patrick (1:33.870 103.893 mph). Right on the heels of Diaz is Ryan Dalziel at 1:34.162 (103.570 mph). Diaz will be seeking his second pole of the year when tomorrow morning's one-hour final qualifying session that begins at 8:45 a.m. (ET).
"We started the day strong," said Diaz. "We made a couple of changes when the car began to mishandle and they proved to be the right changes. The car improved nearly immediately. In practice and qualifying the car was running faster. Unfortunately, traffic got in my way in the final two laps so I didn't find a clear lap just when I thought the car was at its best. I think the car is really good but the unknown factor is how well Allmendinger will be when he gets back to the track for tomorrow's for final qualifying. At least we are close to where we think we should be for the race and we are running among the front-runners."
Series leader A.J. Allmendinger slid off-course with a blown motor with less than a minute to go in a 20-minute warm-up that preceded the qualifying session. He was unable to complete the session but is expected to qualify a car tomorrow.
Saturday's Atlantic race is scheduled to begin at 3:15 p.m. (ET). Live Timing & Scoring data from every session is available on the official web site of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, www.toyotaatlantic.com.
Speed Channel will provide a same-day delayed broadcast for the Montreal Atlantic race on Saturday, August 23, at 4:00 p.m. ET (1:00 p.m. PT). Encore telecasts are scheduled for Sunday, August 24, 3:00 a.m. ET (12:00 midnight PT), and Friday, August 29, at 5:00 p.m. ET (2:00 p.m. PT)