Vancouver: Friday qualifying report

Allmendinger snares provisional Vancouver pole. (Vancouver, B.C., Canada) July 25- Barber Dodge Pro Series season points championship leader A.J. Allmendinger extended his lead on the rest of the field in the overall standings as he took one ...

Allmendinger snares provisional Vancouver pole.

(Vancouver, B.C., Canada) July 25- Barber Dodge Pro Series season points championship leader A.J. Allmendinger extended his lead on the rest of the field in the overall standings as he took one championship point by winning the provisional pole for Sunday's race on his very last lap. Allmendinger out-gunned Marc Breuers, who had been atop the sheets for much of the session, and Julio Campos. Behind Campos qualified Christian Szymczak, Rafael Sperafico, Memo Rojas, Dan Di Leo, Leo Maia, Danica Patrick, and German Quiroga in the first of two qualifying sessions for round 7 of the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series championship at the Molson Indy Vancouver.

The half-hour session provided plenty of excitement, as the top spot was occupied by four different drivers with the top spot being traded back in forth in the last five minutes of the session between Breuers and Allmendinger, with Allmendinger using his last flying lap to settle the matter with a lap of 1:15.245 seconds, setting a new fastest qualifying mark for Barber Dodge on the 1.781-mile temporary road course. The provisional pole position guarantees Allmendinger a front-row starting position for Sunday's race, and extends his points lead to 42 over Cleveland round winner Davy Cook.

Allmendinger, who finished sixth in the 2001 Vancouver event, was not convinced that he had driven fast enough to take the pole position.

"I had let the cars in front of me get ahead to give me some room on track and that helped me get in a clean lap," said the Hollister, California native. "It was a smooth lap, but it didn't really feel that fast. I wasn't sure where I had ended up the session, but I was happy when I got out of the car and they told me I had the pole. I think there are a lot of improvements we can make to the car, so I am hoping to get another point tomorrow and get the car fast for the race."

Breuers, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was atop the sheets when the checkered flag fell, but Allmendinger was already on his final hot lap and on his way to taking the top spot. Breuers was happy with the changes he made to his Sunoco Race Fuels machine during the session, and is looking to improve it even further and reclaim the top spot in Saturday's final qualifying.

"I had good track position early in the session, and was able to get some fast laps in," said Breuers. "Then I pitted to make some changes on the car, and it took a couple of laps to get back up to speed and find some room again. I ended up running in tandem with AJ, and we were putting in some good laps but I got caught up in some traffic right at the end, so I wasn't able to improve on my time. I was happy after the changes we had made on the car, so I am encouraged about having another shot at the pole tomorrow."

Julio Campos, who took the pole in Portland, has never raced on the streets of Vancouver before, but quickly got up to speed, setting fast laps throughout the session. His final attempt at the pole came up short, though, when his effort got the best of him, and he made a mistake under braking that ruined his fast lap.

"This is my first time here in Vancouver, and I have been trying to find the grip out there," said Campos. "We didn't get much time on track in our first session so that made this qualifying a little more difficult. I got behind Marc for part of the session to try and see where he was getting the grip out of his car, and then I had some clean track later in the session, but I left my braking too late going into turn six on my last lap, and that messed my lap up. Tomorrow I hope to get the pole."

The session kept the scoring charts alive with constant changes. With ten minutes remaining in the session, Breuers held onto the top spot with a lap of 1:16.108 seconds, but Campos cut that time down to 1:16.077 only to have Breuers retake the top spot with a fast lap of 1:15.930. Allmendinger was next on top, slicing nearly a half second off of everyone's time with a 1:15.527 with only five minutes left. Breuers raised his game and carded a lap of 1:15.411 seconds with four minutes remaining, and then went one better, breaking the qualifying track record with a lap of 1:15.264, which was the best lap when the checkered flag flew with Campos having split the two with his best time of 1:15.465. Allmendinger, however was on a fast flying final lap, and just edged Breuers with his last lap time of 1:15.246.

Rookie Danica Patrick continued to come up to speed in the Barber Dodge cars, provisionally qualifying in the top ten for the first time in only her third Barber Dodge Pro Series race weekend. Also in the top ten in the provisional qualifying session was German Quiroga, his best effort in qualifying so far this season. Series rookie Atticus Missner was unable to post any times in Friday's qualifying session after contact with the wall in the morning practice session left Missner with a slight concussion. Dr. Terry Trammel of the CART medical staff will continue to monitor Missner and determine on Saturday if he is fit to drive.

Final qualifying will take place on Saturday at 12:15 P.M. with the 40-minute race starting at 10:45 A.M. on Sunday.

-cart/barber-

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Series Barber Pro
Drivers Christian Szymczak , German Quiroga , Davy Cook , Julio Campos , Memo Rojas , A.J. Allmendinger , Marc Breuers , Atticus Missner , Rafael Sperafico , Danica Patrick