KUNO WITTMER WILL START FROM THE POLE FOR THE HONDA/MICHELIN RACE
Mont-Tremblant, QC, September 24 2005 - Kuno Wittmer broke the Honda/Michelin Series lap record in Saturday morning's first qualifying session at Circuit Mont-Tremblant to win his second pole of the season. Wittmer lapped the track in 2 minutes 00.636 seconds at an average speed of 127.425 km/h to remove 5.2 seconds from the previous record set last season. The Honda de Sigi AutoSport driver went into the second qualifying session later that day so confident that the mark established earlier would stand up that he worked on new tire race set ups for Sunday's race during most of the session. It almost backfired as Robert Boyer drove his Lombardi Honda Racing around the 4.270-kilometre road course in a time of 2 minutes 00.659 seconds, to come within 23 hundredths of a second of Kuno's time.
''I went out for the second qualifying to scrub new Michelin tires because we thought the time we set in the morning session under better track conditions would easily hold, but it turned out too close for comfort,'' commented Kuno Wittmer who earned a point for the pole to close within one to Steven Laporte who leads the championship with 208 points. ''It could have cost us big time, but fortunately we kept the pole. We know we have a good car for the race. A win here would also mean first place in the standings. So, I want to win this one.''
Robert Boyer was fastest in the afternoon session, but will start second on the grid, next to Kuno. His result matched his best grid position of the year established last May in the season opener at Mosport.
''Even though I've had several top five qualifiers, it's been awhile since I've started on the front row,'' mentioned Boyer. ''To achieve fast times here, you need to work closely with another driver to get a good draft. I teamed up with Steven (Laporte, his Lombardi teammate) and it resulted in a great lap time for me this time around. This is going to be an exciting race. Kuno and I have raced together for a long time and we respect one another. We are also too good at driving with precision to make contact, even if it's not on purpose. The better driver will win this race.''
Third overall was Sylvain Ouellet who drove his Auto Frank & Michel Honda around the track in 2:00.828. The Louiseville (QC) driver edged Nick Wittmer by only sixth thousandths of a second.
''I'm finally getting the hang of it,'' said Ouellet, who came out of a 10-year retirement in the middle of last season. ''I spent 10 years driving CASCARs and I had never raced on a road course prior to my return to competition. For the last month or so, I've been testing once a week at Sanair Raceway and it's finally paying off. Friday, I worked with Didier (Schraenen) and got the best lap of the day and today, it worked with Fred (Frederick Lelièvre). Series defending champion and 2005 Points leader Steven Laporte and Frederick Lelièvre of Mont-Joli will fill the third row, while Didier Schraenen and rookie Tyler Givogue of Ottawa will start from row four. The top eight on the grid are only separated by one second. Jacques Lelièvre, the father of Frederick, and 16-year old rookie Philip Major, also of Ottawa, round out the top-10.
Drivers return to the track on Sunday for the morning warm-up. The 16-lap race is scheduled to start at 1:25 p.m.
In the points standing after seven rounds, Steven Laporte is still on top with 208 points, but only one point ahead of Kuno Wittmer. Nick Wittmer sits in third place with a total of 205, still within striking distance of Laporte with two races to go. Didier Schraenen is still fourth with 192 points, followed by Lelièvre who has moved up one position to fifth with 179 points.