Romancini Qualifies Fourth, Jackson 15th For RLR/Andersen Racing Saturday at Mid-Ohio
LEXINGTON, Ohio, Aug. 8 - With about a dozen guests and employees of Allied Interior Products from Ohio and Michigan among the crowd looking on, RLR/Andersen Racing's Mario Romancini qualified fourth on Saturday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for Sunday's Mid-Ohio 100 Firestone Indy Lights race.
In addition to Allied Interior Products, Romancini's No. 5 is sponsored by Andersen Racing, Revita Recycling, Win Brazil Marketing and Lafarge North America.
The fastest time set by the driver from Sao Paulo, Brazil and Miami was a 1:15.1639 for an average speed of 108.148 miles per hour. It resulted in his third-best starting spot to date and the team's best qualifying result on road or street courses so far this year.
His teammate, Ali Jackson of Moyvalley, Country Kildare, Ireland, was originally 12th but ended up 15th in the No. 9 sponsored by the Moyvalley Golf and Hotel Resort and Allied Interior Products. His official qualifying time in the 45-minute session was a 1:16.9498 for an average speed of 105.638 mph on his 14th of 18 laps. He ran a 1:16.4506 (106.327 mph) on his 18th and final lap, but that lap was thrown out after he nosed into a tire wall in Turn 8 while he was trying to get the most speed out of his car as possible on what would have been his 19th trip around the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course.
This is the first race for both drivers at Mid-Ohio, which is a very challenging, 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course. The session was complicated further by changing weather conditions, because the track was wet at the start of the session, dried off in the middle and was completely dry at the end.
Both RLR/Andersen Racing cars started on rain Firestone Firehawks and then changed to slicks later. Romancini waited a bit in the pits for the track to improve, and did a total of 11 laps on slicks.
With eight minutes remaining in the session he was 14th, but he moved up to sixth with six minutes left. He was fifth with three minutes to go, and fourth at the end.
James Davison got the pole, while James Hinchcliffe will start second. Points leader J.R. Hildebrand will line up beside Romancini in Row 2.
Romancini's car is sporting a decal for Give Kids the World Village in Kissimmee, Fla., which it will continue to do throughout the rest of the year. Jackson's car promotes another not-for-profit group, International Child Care Ministries. Both cars also promote the IRL Ministry.
There's a 20-minute warm-up at 8 a.m. tomorrow, followed by the 40-lap/90.32-mile race at 10:15 a.m. Live timing and scoring is planned for indycar.com.
The race is slated to be broadcast at 4 p.m. Monday on VERSUS. All times are Eastern.
Post qualifying quotes:
Mario Romancini: I'm very happy. It's the best we've done so far on a road course. The car was getting better and better every lap. The balance of the car was very good. The track was drying out throughout the session, and whoever made a fast lap near the end was going to do well. The track was totally dry at the end.
"I think we have a strong car for the race."
Ali Jackson: "It's the first time that I've ever been here so it's the first time I've driven here in the dry or the wet, so it's not too bad. My first laps here were this morning in practice, so I'm still learning the track. My car had a small bit of push in qualifying, but the balance was pretty good."