Cleveland: Thursday report

Maia takes Cleveland provisional pole, (Cleveland, OH) July 03, 2003- Leo Maia of Oakland, California, took the provisional pole position in first round qualifying for Saturday's race at Burke Lakefront Airport today with a lap of 1:14.124...

Maia takes Cleveland provisional pole,

(Cleveland, OH) July 03, 2003- Leo Maia of Oakland, California, took the provisional pole position in first round qualifying for Saturday's race at Burke Lakefront Airport today with a lap of 1:14.124 seconds on the 2.106-mile temporary airport circuit. Dan Di Leo of Markham, Ontario, Canada, secured second place on the provisional grid, with David Martinez of Monterrey, Mexico taking third. Memo Rojas of Mexico City, Mexico scored fourth, with Barber Champ Car Scholarship driver Colin Fleming taking fifth.

Nelson Philippe of Valece, France, qualified sixth, with German Quiroga taking seventh on the provisional grid. Burt Frisselle of Kihei, Hawaii, qualified eighth ahead of Barber Champ Car Scholarship racer Scott Poirier, with Luis Pelayo taking tenth after losing his fastest lap of the session when he brought out the red flag when he spun off course and brought debris onto the racing surface to end the session.

The forty-minute session was all Di Leo's until the very last moments as the Laguna Seca round winner bolted to the top of the timesheets and stayed there for much of the session before being bested by Leo Maia for the pole in the closing moments

The provisional pole spot guarantees Maia a front row starting position for Saturday's race and one championship point, his fifth point of the season earned in qualifying. Maia now leads Di Leo by twenty six points in the championship standings.

"I was driving the car too hard early in the session, and once I settled down some, I started getting the times I needed," said Maia. "It didn't feel like it was a fast lap, since I didn't feel like I was really taking any chances, but I guess it was good enough to take the pole. I know that I could have gone faster on my last lap, but the red flag came out to end the session, so I knew at least that no one else was going to beat my time." Di Leo controlled most of the session, breaking into the 1:16, 1:15, and 1:14 brackets before anyone else, but came up just short in the final moments after the red flag prevented him from posting a fast lap.

"The car was good at the beginning of the session, and I was able to get to P1 early and then I was just working on saving my tires for later in the session," said Di Leo. "I came in with about five minutes to go to change my tire pressures, and I knew what I had to do to come out to take the pole back, since I knew Leo had set a faster time. Unfortunately, though, the red flag came out as I was working on my last set of fast laps, and so I didn't get to do it. I feel fine with the session, though, since we are fast, and its early in the weekend yet, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

David Martinez, who moved to fourth in the championship standings after scoring podiums in the last two races, hasn't raced on the airport circuit for several years, and feels like he is getting comfortable quickly.

"Its been so long since I raced here that its really like learning the track all over again, so Dan and Leo had a bit of an advantage over me and they were able to get up to speed very quickly," said Martinez. "But I really do like this track, and feel comfortable in the fast corners here, so I am looking forward to the qualifying tomorrow to try and get myself closer to the front for the start.

The Barber Dodge Pro Series will hold final qualifying taking on Friday at 2:00 p.m., and the race is scheduled to get underway at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday. Full results and story to be posted at www.barberdodge.com.

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Series Barber Pro
Drivers German Quiroga , Memo Rojas , Burt Frisselle , Scott Poirier , Colin Fleming , David Martinez , Luis Pelayo , Nelson Philippe