Points leader Morad will start on Round 3 pole; Lee takes Round 4 pole in shortened session Lakeville, Conn. - May 27, 2006-- Championship points leader Daniel Morad (AIM Autosport) benefited from the cancellation of Formula BMW USA's Round 3 ...
Points leader Morad will start on Round 3 pole; Lee takes Round 4 pole in shortened session
Lakeville, Conn. - May 27, 2006-- Championship points leader Daniel Morad (AIM Autosport) benefited from the cancellation of Formula BMW USA's Round 3 qualifying yesterday and will start from the pole as the 26-car field was set by points. The 16-year old Rookie from Canada is tied with Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA) at the top of the standings, but will start first based on his higher finish in Round 1 at Mid-Ohio. Morad and Stevens each took a win at last weekend. John Zartarian (Gelles Racing) will start third. Officially, the session was cancelled due to force majeure, and the starting line up set according to 3.23.7 of the 2006 Formula BMW USA regulations.
Rainy weather has proven to be the x-factor in almost every practice, qualifying and race to-date as rain has followed the series from the opening rounds last weekend to Lime Rock.
Continuing slippery conditions this morning brought out two red flags in today's Round 4 qualifying session. The session effectively ended almost as soon as tires began to warm when the first red flag came just before the six-minute mark. One lap earlier, Matt Lee (Autotecnica) took the top spot from Simona de Silvestro (EuroInternational) with a lap of 53.735 seconds around the 1.53-mile, seven-turn circuit. De Silvestro's 54.059 second lap gives the 17-year old Italian her second front row start of the season. With Morad in third (54.208 seconds), the field was called to the pits. When the green flag waved, it was only for two laps as Stevens went off-course in the fast downhill, bringing out the second stoppage and the end of the allowed time. Stevens still managed to secure the 13th starting position.
The fastest Rookies in Round 4 were Morad (P3), Maxime Pelletier (P5), Jordan Dick (P10), Steven Guerrero (P12) and Sebastian Saavedra (P14).
"It is my first time here and so far it is going pretty well. I like the track. Qualifying was a little short, but we managed to set the fastest lap time," said Lee. "Even with the red flag we had a lot more in the car and I had a lot more in me. My strategy for tomorrow's race is to try to gain a gap on the field and just drive away. And if there are any restarts, then I will make sure that they are perfect."
De Silvestro said, "I could have done better, but there was a lot of traffic. I am happy with the second place and I am looking forward to the race on Monday. The race will be hard, but maybe I will be faster than Matt in the beginning. I will focus on a strong start."
Morad said, "I could have done a little bit better, but starting from third is pretty good. Yesterday we had really bad weather and I am pretty lucky just to start from pole the first race for leading the championship points. Today I am planning on trying to get a good start and work on my lead." He added, "There is a big difference between the Mid-Ohio track and Lime Rock Park. Mid-Ohio just got repaved and was nice and smooth, but here it is really bumpy at the apexes."