With four races left in the 2009 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda season, Team Stargate Worlds arrived at Trois Rivieres, Quebec for the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. As was the case last week at the Mid Ohio race,...
With four races left in the 2009 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda season, Team Stargate Worlds arrived at Trois Rivieres, Quebec for the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. As was the case last week at the Mid Ohio race, the team is looking to extend team driver Simona De Silvestro's championship point's lead. De Silvestro currently leads by sixteen points but the Newman Wachs duo of John Edwards and Jonathan Summerton are unrelenting in their efforts to overtake her lead. Meanwhile her teammate Frankie Muniz is looking to complete this weekend's race minus any bad luck and finish strongly in the top-5.
The team entered the qualifying session hoping to strike first and get the advantage for the race by taking the pole position. With temperatures in the 80's, the Atlantic field of drivers took to the 10-turn, 1.521-mile temporary street circuit late in the day. For her part De Silvestro got off to a slow start. By the third lap she was tenth on the time sheets, however that didn't last very long. On her fourth lap she shot right up to the top of the time sheet. By lap #10 Frederic Vervisch jumped to the top when he cracked the 59 second lap mark. De Silvestro went second but immediately rebounded and put Vervisch back to second. De Silvestro would go back to second a few more times thanks to Newman Wachs teammates Edwards and Summerton. At the end though it would be De Silvestro who would come out ahead and claim the pole with a lap time of 58.662 seconds. The record breaking pole time was fast enough to declare it the fastest lap ever for an open-wheel car at Trois-Rivieres. This is De Silvestro's fourth pole position of the year.
Muniz took the start of the session amid difficult circumstances. During the Mid Ohio race last week Muniz was caught up in an accident that involved John Edwards and Tonis Kassemets. Muniz suffered a bone chip on his left hand as well as ligament damage which will require him to have surgery at a later date. Muniz set aside the painful condition and began the session by charging his #77 machine to seventh on the charts. He slipped to eighth by lap # 7, behind last year's series champion Markus Niemela. Muniz would stay in the eighth spot for the rest of the session but was constantly challenging for the seventh place spot against Borja Garcia and Tonis Kassemets, despite the injury. Muniz would go on to finish the session in eighth.
Frankie Muniz, Driver No. 77 - "Overall I am happy to be where we ended up. It's been a struggle all week with the left hand injury and now we're trying to begin the healing process. Coming to racetrack like Trois -Rivieres, as bumpy and physically tough as it is, I am happy that we were not too far off the pace and relatively close to the leaders. We still think a top-5 finish is feasible and that's what my goal is tomorrow."
Simona De Silvestro, Driver No. 78 - "It was tough session all around. The track demands a lot and everyone's times are so close that trying to squeeze a great lap required a great deal of effort but in the end my team gave me a great car and I was able to come away with the pole position. I am very happy to be able to start this race in the front and I hope to turn this start into a race win tomorrow. Thank you to the team for their great effort."
Imran Safiulla and Shane Seneviratne, Principals Of Team Stargate Worlds- "That was a terrific qualifying session. Simona drove the car very well in conditions different from our earlier run. A great effort by the entire team. Frankie has been brave all weekend with his injury and we are proud of him battling through the pain. We look forward to hopefully having a good day tomorrow."