Memo Rojas takes Laguna Pole. MONTEREY, CA (June 14, 2003)-Memo Rojas of Mexico City, Mexico, secured the pole for Sunday's Barber Dodge Pro Series Race at Laguna Seca with a lap of 1:26.341 seconds on the 2.238-mile permanent road course....
Memo Rojas takes Laguna Pole.
MONTEREY, CA (June 14, 2003)-Memo Rojas of Mexico City, Mexico, secured the pole for Sunday's Barber Dodge Pro Series Race at Laguna Seca with a lap of 1:26.341 seconds on the 2.238-mile permanent road course. Daniel Di Leo of Markham, Ontario, Canada, will line up next to Rojas after securing the front row starting position in first round qualifying on Friday with his provisional pole.
Season points leader Leo Maia will start the race from the third spot on the grid, and round two winner David Martinez will line up next to him in fourth. German Quiroga of Mexico City, Mexico, will start in fifth position, with Colin Fleming of North Hills, California starting in sixth. Burt Frisselle of Kihei, Hawaii, will take the green flag from sixth on the grid, next to Chris Baker of Houston, Texas. Nelson Philippe of Valence, France, will line up in ninth for tomorrow's race, with Luis Pelayo of Mexico City, Mexico taking the tenth slot.
The half hour qualifying session ran under green flag conditions to the end after the session was red-flagged five minutes into the session to move Chris Green's car to a safe location after the young Canadian went off-course in turn ten. The times quickly dropped during the session, as the combination of cool temperatures and sunny skies brought out the best in the Dodge engine and Michelin tires respectively, helping the top sixteen qualifiers improve on the times they set in first qualifying.
The pole is Rojas' first in Barber Dodge competition, and the championship point he earned today moved him one point closer to Leo Maia in the points standings. Rojas, who finished second at Laguna in 2002, is looking to convert his first-ever pole in Barber Dodge Pro Series competition into his first-ever win. "Its really exciting for me to take the pole here in Monterey," said Rojas. "My car has been very balanced all weekend, and I just stayed out the whole session, since I knew that there would be traffic, and was going to need to just find a clear lap, which I was able to do late in the session."
The Champ Car stewards indicated in the drivers meeting that there will be a zero tolerance policy toward blocking beginning at the Laguna round, but Rojas does not think that it will change his approach to the race.
"I will just be trying to get a good lead early on and hold on to it and get enough of a gap so I am not thinking about the guys behind me," said Rojas.
Daniel Di Leo secured the overnight pole in the first qualifying session, earning him one championship point and guaranteeing him a front row starting position in the race. Di Leo was quick in the second qualifying, but not enough to hold onto the pole.
"I was obviously hoping to keep the pole, but I have had some recurring problems with my brakes, and that kept me from being able to post a really good time. I think we will be fine for the race tomorrow once we get that sorted out. The handling is really good all around here, and so I am feeling confident in the car and I know we can be competitive tomorrow. "
Leo Maia, who leads the championship standings with two wins to his credit so far this season, will start in third position and is confident that he can score another strong result this weekend, so long as the race gets off to a clean start.
"I just want to make sure I get to turn two, and from there we should be fine for the race," said Maia. "My car has been really good all weekend, and I have been able to get into a good rhythm every session, so getting through the start, and going racing from there is really what I am going to be concentrating on tomorrow in the race. I love this track, and there are definitely places here where you can pass, so I am looking forward to it."