NA-F2000: Watkins Glen qualifying report

By Russell Jaslow - Motosport.com Memo Rojas drove a fast lap of 1:52.669 in his Telmex Van Diemen to grab the pole for the first race of the US F2000 National Championship double event of the Sports Car Grand Prix at Watkins Glen ...

By Russell Jaslow - Motosport.com

Memo Rojas drove a fast lap of 1:52.669 in his Telmex Van Diemen to grab the pole for the first race of the US F2000 National Championship double event of the Sports Car Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International.

Rojas, a Mexico City native, grabbed the top spot away from Mike Andersen who held it for the majority of the half hour session.

Andersen set fast lap early in qualifying then kept bettering it winding up with a fast lap of 1:52.750 in his Valvoline/Pi Research Van Diemen, the only 2000 model in the top nine. At the time, it was a new qualifying record around the 3.4 mile circuit.

However, Rojas topped that record with what turned out to be three minutes left of dry track time. Eight minutes from the end of the session, a heavy rain storm struck.

Rojas received no warning from his team of the oncoming storm. "The drivers probably knew before the pit crew did since it started to rain in the back section," Rojas said.

Tom Dyer was affected the most amongst the fast cars. He set the fastest time during the morning practice session, and was all set to go on a flier, having cooled his tires down the lap before, just as the skies opened up. The slick surface caused the rookie to spin off course and get stuck in the gravel trap. The Californian had to settle for third on the grid.

Paul Dana suffered a worse fate in the wet conditions hitting the tire wall damaging the right front on his Van Diemen. He is slated to start sixth.

Rounding out the top five were Jason LaPoint and Tonis Kasemets, both in 2001 Van Diemens.

The American Continental Championship class pole was won by Billy Hager with a time of 1:56.480 in his Hager Restaurant Service 1998 Van Diemen. It was good for 21st overall.

This qualifying session set the grid for Saturday afternoon's race scheduled to begin at 1:00 P.M. Eastern time.

There is another qualifying session later this afternoon at 4:20 P.M. that will set the grid for Sunday morning's race. The rain storm is expected to have passed through by then leaving dry conditions.

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Series Other open wheel
Drivers Memo Rojas , Paul Dana , Tonis Kasemets , Tom Dyer