Laguna Seca: Friday qualifying notes

Di Leo takes provisional pole. MONTEREY, CA (June 13, 2003)-Daniel Di Leo of Markham, Ontario, Canada took the provisional pole for Sunday's Barber Dodge Pro Series Race at Laguna Seca with a lap of 1:26.812 seconds on the 2.238-mile permanent...

Di Leo takes provisional pole.

MONTEREY, CA (June 13, 2003)-Daniel Di Leo of Markham, Ontario, Canada took the provisional pole for Sunday's Barber Dodge Pro Series Race at Laguna Seca with a lap of 1:26.812 seconds on the 2.238-mile permanent road course. Series championship points leader Leonardo Maia of Oakland, California, took second on the provisional grid with a time of 1:27.030 seconds as Burt Frisselle of Kihei, Hawaii scored his best-ever qualifying position in Barber Dodge competition with a third with a time of 1:27.753 seconds. The half hour session ran under green flag conditions to the end after the session was red-flagged early to retrieve the car of David Martinez, who ran wide at the exit of turn six.

Colin Fleming of North Hills, California qualified fourth in his Tenfold-liveried machine, with Mexico City Mexico, native Memo Rojas taking fifth in his Telmex-backed entry. Fellow Mexican German Quiroga qualified in sixth in the Gigante-backed entry, with Chris Baker of Houston, Texas, backing up his strong performance in Milwaukee with a strong seventh place on the provisional grid. Luis Pelayo powered his Telmex machine into eighth, with second round winner David Martinez of Monterrey, Mexico taking ninth. Nelson Phillippe of Valence, France rounded out the top ten in provisional qualifying with a time of 1:28.052 seconds in his Lease Plan machine.

The provisional pole effort gives Di Leo one championship point and guarantees him a front row start for Sunday's race. Di Leo, who scored the provisional pole in the first round at St. Petersburg, Florida, is hoping to hold onto the pole in the final qualifying session tomorrow and convert the start into his first-ever win in Barber Dodge competition.

"It was an interesting session with the red flag early on, and that kind of took everyone out of their game a bit," said Di Leo. "I was able to be fast right from the start of the session, and I knew that I was in P1, and then took a bit of a break with about ten minutes to go in the session, to let the Michelins cool down a bit before setting some more fast times. This session was really promising for me for the weekend, since not only was I fast, but I ran three or four laps right in a row and they were all consistently fast. I'm really happy, since this is exactly what I needed. I have struggled a bit in the last few rounds, and this is encouraging for me."

Leo Maia, who leads the championship standings with two wins to his credit so far this season, took second on the grid.

"I'm glad that I cut the time down to Dan from the morning session, where he was faster than I by a good margin, so I am happy about that, but we still have a ways to go," said Maia. "My car was pretty good, but I developed an understeer that kept getting worse during the session, and so we are going to have to work on that for tomorrow. I feel confident about tomorrow since I had my fastest lap going when I ran into some traffic, so I know that I can set a better time tomorrow.

Burt Frisselle made his first visit to the top three press conference today after scoring his best qualifying result to date on what is clearly his favorite track.

"I love driving on this track, it's an absolute blast with the corkscrew and the elevation changes all around," said Frisselle. "Even though I live in Hawaii, this is pretty much my home track. Dan and Leo are really fast, and have a lot of time in these Barber Dodge cars, so I am pretty happy to be so close to them today. We'll go back and look at the data and maybe work on my setup a bit, and hopefully we can improve tomorrow."

Final qualifying will take place at 1:00 PST on Saturday, with the race scheduled to get underway at 10:00 am on Sunday. Full results and story to be posted at www.skipbarber.com.

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Series Barber Pro
Drivers German Quiroga , Memo Rojas , Leonardo Maia , Chris Baker , Burt Frisselle , Colin Fleming , David Martinez , Luis Pelayo