Genoa Rides the Qualifying Roller Coaster at Long Beach April 18, 2009. Long Beach, CA Genoa's FirestoneÂ® Indy Lights cars have been at the front of every session this year, dating back to pre-season testing in 2008. Qualifying for the...
Genoa Rides the Qualifying Roller Coaster at Long Beach
April 18, 2009. Long Beach, CA
Genoa's Firestone® Indy Lights cars have been at the front of every session this year, dating back to pre-season testing in 2008. Qualifying for the Long Beach Grand Prix was no different, with Richard Philippe (Funkemotions.com #36) and Jonathan Bomarito (RLM/Mathiasen Motorsports #63) trading 1st and 2nd in their first qualifying group.
Jonathan ended group 1 qualifying on the provisional pole with a time that ultimately ended up being a mere 3/10,000's (yes, they had to go to 4 decimal places!) of a second off of the pole time set by JR Hildebrand (from the 2nd group). To put this in perspective, this is less than 0.5 inches at 94 miles/hour! Unfortunately, Jonathan was deemed to have set his fast lap while a yellow flag was displayed on the back straight, after James Davison's car ran out of fuel.
In theory, it should not be possible to set a fast lap if a given sector is under yellow (whether standing, waving, or full course), so the lap time was disallowed. Due to the timing of the standing yellow flag, it ended up being the equivalent of a full course caution, even though it was only a local yellow. Needless to say, everyone on the team was really disappointed.
The end result is that the Monterrey, CA native, and hometown favorite, Jonathan Bomarito was relegated from the front row to the fourth row. Genoa's Richard Philippe was promoted from the 3rd row to the 2nd row. Still recovering from a bout with pneumonia, Jonathan will now have to try to challenge for a podium on a race track where passing is at a premium.
Team owner Mark Olson states,
"What a challenging day. We went from being within one half of an inch from the pole position all the way back to the fourth row. I mean, I was already engraving the trophy. The League looked at all the data very closely and it all turned out to be just an unfortunate set of circumstances for us. I think Jonathan did all the right things, but he still has suffered a challenging setback and has to try to climb from a fairly deep hole to get to the podium. I am expecting a heroic finish tomorrow. And don't forget about Richard. He's been fastest all year, and now he's starting from the second row! Sunday should be a great day for Genoa. I'm very proud of the team, they continue to represent well whether faced with prosperity or adversity."