Juan Martin Ponte of Concordia, Argentina, only needed two laps to secure the pole position today at Phoenix International Raceway as he stormed to the top of the charts late in the half-hour qualifying session after waiting out the first half of...
Juan Martin Ponte of Concordia, Argentina, only needed two laps to secure the pole position today at Phoenix International Raceway as he stormed to the top of the charts late in the half-hour qualifying session after waiting out the first half of the session for the ideal track conditions. The half-hour session was very competitive, with seven different drivers holding on to the top position during the session and only one second separating the top twelve drivers on the 1.51-mile infield road course in the final results.
Ponte was happy to take the pole position, but emphasized that he still needs to get more out of the car to match the changing conditions as the track proved to provide significantly less grip on Friday than it has for the last two days, and has him concerned about the race.
"Getting pole is really good for the points and it should give me an advantage in the race tomorrow, but we are really going to have to look at working on the car for these conditions," said Ponte, "...as I think we need to make some changes to be competitive in the race if the track is going to be this slippery. But of course, I am still very happy to be up front for the standing start!"
Ponte waited out the early moments of the session before taking to the track and getting up to speed on his way to the pole as he managed to score a lap just .086 seconds faster than series newcomer Marcos Gomes of Brazil, who had held the pole position of much of the session. Gomes will line up alongside of Ponte, with Renato David taking his Condor Motorsports machine to third on the grid.
Gelles Racing's Gustavo Sondermann will join him in the second row, with Canadian Mark Wilkins taking fifth in his Aim Autorsport entry lining up next to Mexican Aurelio Lopez. Ricardo Imery, who was second overall on Thursday, was caught out by the slippery track and will line up in seventh next to Dan McMullen. German Quiroga scored ninth on the grid in his GTI/Roshfrans machine, and American Nick Bussell rounds out the top ten for Saturdays race, which is scheduled to get started at 1:25 p.m. local time on Saturday.
The North American Formula Renault Championships are sanctioned by Grand American, and provide a ladder for drivers to develop their talent, with a full in-house open-wheel progression available. The 2004 season will get underway April 8-10 at Phoenix International Raceway.
The Formula Renault V6 Championship is the top rung on the North American Formula Renault Championship ladder, which also includes the North American Formula Renault 1600 Championship and the North American Formula Renault 2000 Championship. The Formula Renault V6 is expected to make its North American competition debut in the latter stages of the2004 North American Formula Renault 2000 season.