Gianmarco Raimondo, Giancarlo Vilarinho Earn Formula BMW Americas Mosport Poles Friday's final Formula BMW Americas qualifying rounds of the season yielded a sort of redemption for a pair of drivers who were firmly entrenched in the...
Gianmarco Raimondo, Giancarlo Vilarinho Earn Formula BMW Americas Mosport Poles
Friday's final Formula BMW Americas qualifying rounds of the season yielded a sort of redemption for a pair of drivers who were firmly entrenched in the championship fight until Gabby Chaves clinched the title two weeks ago.
Canadian Gianmarco Raimondo posted the fastest lap of the day to win his first pole position of the year during today's morning session at Mosport International Raceway, while Brazilian Giancarlo Vilarinho rebounded from his Road America accident to snare the pole for Sunday's race in today's afternoon outing.
Raimondo played his cards perfectly in the morning session, putting his Autotecnica machine in the optimal spot for the waning minutes of the 30-minute qualifying run. He found space on the 2.4-mile track and got his Michelin tires to the perfect temperature before laying down a top lap of 1:21.638 on his very last lap to claim his first pole of the season.
"That was a good lap, we worked everything perfectly and I was able to put it all together," Raimondo said. "That's when the car is at its fastest is when you're on your last laps and you've got the tires right where you want them. You just have to be in the right spot to take advantage of the opportunity when you get it, and we made it happen today. I am very pleased."
Raimondo's blistering lap allowed him to knock series champ Chaves to the outside of the front row, while Vilarinho slotted into the third spot alongside Eurointernational teammate Michael Lewis. The American Lewis was the quickest of the four rookies that are still in the chase for the rookie championship, and will start fourth - one spot ahead of rookie leader James Kovacic.
The second round of qualifying yielded some slower times as heavy cloud cover threatened to turn the outing into a wet-weather session. But the slower times made for a tighter field as Vilarinho's polewinning time of 1:21.916 was less than a tenth of a second faster than the time of third-placed Raimondo.
"It was good for me to come back and do well after the Road America accident," Vilarinho said. "We have a good car and the guys are working hard, so hopefully tomorrow we can go out and win a race."
Vilarinho set his best time, which put him in the front row alongside his Eurointernational stablemate Chaves, with eight minutes to go in the session, but a red flag caused by Alex Ellis' spin made it hold up. The cleanup from the incident left the field with one flying lap to try and improve their positions, but none of the drivers were able to do so.
As was the case during the morning qualifying, Lewis was again the highest-qualifying rookie and will start fourth, just one spot ahead of Kovacic. All four of the rookie contenders will be able to follow each other on Sunday as Ellis and Team Apex's Joao Horto will grid sixth and seventh.
The series will conduct one race tomorrow with the grid set by today's morning qualifying, with another race Sunday with the grid set by today's afternoon session.