Allmendinger assails provisional pole. (LIME ROCK, Conn.) May 24, 2002 -In the morning driver's meeting, Barber Dodge Coach Barry Waddell emphasized the importance of finding grip on Lime Rock's twisty 1.54-mile track, and A.J. Allmendinger...
Allmendinger assails provisional pole.
(LIME ROCK, Conn.) May 24, 2002 -In the morning driver's meeting, Barber Dodge Coach Barry Waddell emphasized the importance of finding grip on Lime Rock's twisty 1.54-mile track, and A.J. Allmendinger was clearly paying attention, taking the provisional pole for Monday's race with a fast lap time of 0:55.011 sec. The Barber Dodge field had practiced under picture-perfect skies in the morning, but were faced with an overcast sky as the field took to the track for first round qualifying. Provisionally alongside is American Marc Breuers while Mexican Memo Rojas set the third quickest time of the session.
The winner of the opening round race in Sebring found his times mired in the middle of the pack for the first 15 minutes of qualifying, but made a critical change to his car and soon after found himself at the top of the time sheets. The provisional pole guarantees Allmendinger a front row starting position for Monday's race, and earns him an all-important championship point.
"My car was good, but I had a big push in the downhill so we made a wing adjustment, and it really made a big difference. It took me a couple of laps to get the courage to just keep my foot in it no matter what in the downhill, but once I did, it really improved my time," relayed Allmendinger, 19 of Hollister, Calif. "The track lost some grip compared to this morning, but the tire Michelin has here for us this weekend is still really solid and that helped me a lot in the downhill. I'm glad to get the championship point and to know that I will at least be starting from the front row and I can hang it all out tomorrow."
Mark Breuers set the fastest time in the morning session with a 54.435 sec. lap in his Sunoco liveried Reynard-Dodge. He was unmatched at the top of the timesheets again during most of the session only to finish second when Allmendinger piped him late in the session for the top spot.
"This is just a track that takes a lot of laps to find the fastest way around, and fortunately, I have a lot of laps here. It really was just a matter of getting a clean lap, and I just got unlucky with the traffic. I was fast right out of the box again, and my car was definitely improving as the session went on, but I kept catching traffic at the wrong time," said Breuers who drives the number 94 Sunoco Dodge Reynard. "Even though the track lost some grip compared to this morning, the car was still well balanced. I'm looking forward to qualifying tomorrow, getting some clean laps in, and going for the pole."
Telmex driver Memo Rojas had a bad start to the day as he was unable to break the top ten in the morning session, but after making some changes to the car in the afternoon, his times improved significantly. Rojas was fast throughout the session, running a best lap of 55.360 sec. to earn the provisional 3rd starting position.
"We had a problem in the morning session with my set-up, and once we got that taken care of, the car was much, much better. I just need to keep focused on improving my car this weekend to make sure its fast in the race. I am glad I get another chance tomorrow to go for the pole," said Rojas.
The top three were followed by Rafael Sperafico, Christian Symszak, Dan Di Leo, Julio Campos, Leo Maia, Davy Cook, and Nilton Rossoni, with the Top-10 all within one second of each others times. The rest of the field will get one last chance to beat the mark set by Allmendinger in the second qualifying session at 1:25 p.m. on Saturday, with the pole position and another championship point up for grabs.
The Barber Dodge Pro Series drivers will practice again Saturday at 9:40 am and will hold final qualifying at 1:25 p.m. as part of the Lime Rock Park Grand Prix presented by Mohegan Sun.