ROSSONI CONTINUES IN SPOILER ROLE AT WATKINS GLEN WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Oct. 2) - Eliminated from championship contention by a five-race run of bad luck, Nilton Rossoni continued to play the role of spoiler in final qualifying action for the ...
ROSSONI CONTINUES IN SPOILER ROLE AT WATKINS GLEN
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Oct. 2) - Eliminated from championship contention by a five-race run of bad luck, Nilton Rossoni continued to play the role of spoiler in final qualifying action for the Barber Dodge Pro Series race at the Sports Car Oktoberfest at the Glen Saturday morning.
On his last lap of the day, Rossoni scorched the 3.4-mile, 11-turn Watkins Glen long course with a new series record lap of 1:50.963 averaging 110.307 mph. In the process, the second consecutive pole for the 18-year-old Brazilian denied championship leader Jeff Simmons a crucial one-point bonus.
"I knew the time was there. The main thing was that I did not make any mistakes," Rossoni said. "I love this track...fast corners, slow corners, uphill, downhill...it's great. I earned my first podium (second place) here last year, so it's a special place for me as well."
Simmons, the Barber Dodge points leader, appeared to be in an ideal position to pick up the pole point in the last qualifying session of the season after setting the bar at 1:51.303/109.970 mph halfway through the session. But Rossoni shaved less than two-tenths of a second as he flashed across the line just after the checkered flag waved. Track officials called for the flag two minutes early to remove the disabled car of Townsend Bell from the entrance to the carousel area.
Simmons looked set to pad his seven-point lead over Todd Snyder after topping the provisional session Friday and most of Saturday's session. He ultimately settled for the outside front row slot, having nipped Snyder (1:51.314/109.959 mph) by a .011-second blink.
The 23-year-old East Granby, Conn. native can become the first driver in Barber Pro Series history to repeat as champion by finishing third in Sunday's 40-minute sprint. If Snyder does not win the race, Simmons can finish sixth and still clinch the title and $300,000 Career Enhancement Award.
"I wanted to take one more lap. I thought I would go easy for a lap and let the tires cool off," Simmons said. "I had run quite a few laps in a row pretty hard and the times had (hit a) plateau. I wanted to go for one more, but I just didn't get a chance to do it."
With a sliver over a second separating the top nine qualifiers, Snyder was optimistic about his championship chance starting on the inside of row two.
"I'm going for the win. That's all I can say and all I can do," Snyder said. "It's going to be a good race."
The wide-open battle for Barber Dodge Rookie of the Year also heated up in qualifying. Roger Yasukawa (1:51.631/109.647 mph) of Santa Monica, Calif. edged Matt Plumb (1:51.632/109.646 mph) of Unionville, Penn. for fourth on the grid in the closest margin of the 12-race season. Another rookie contender, Michael Valiante of Vancouver, B.C. will try to move up from the 10th spot after posting a 1:52.151 at 109.139 mph.
After two days of record-breaking speeds at the Glen (the entire field t opped Fredrik Larsson's previous track record of 1:54.372 set in 1995), the cool dry weather of qualifying is forecast to give way to a 70-percent chance of rain for the race Sunday morning.
For complete qualifying results and photos, visit the Skip Barber Racing School website: www.skipbarber.com
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - Barber Dodge Pro Series final qualifying results Saturday from the Bosch Sportscar Octoberfest on the 3.4-mile, 11-turn Watkins Glen road course for Sunday's 40-minute race. Drivers are classified by position, car number, name/hometown and time/speed.
1 (36) Nilton Rossoni/Curitiba, Brazil 1:50.963/110.307 mph 2 (1) Jeff Simmons/East Granby, Conn. 1:51.303/109.970 3 (11) Todd Snyder/Sheffield, Mass. 1:51.314/109.959 4 (8) Roger Yasukawa/Santa Monica, Calif. 1:51.631/109.647 5 (17) Matt Plumb/Unionville, Pa. 1:51.632/109.646 6 (25) Townsend Bell/Costa Mesa, Calif. 1:51.670/109.609 7 (2) Jamie Menninga/Pella, Iowa 1:51.763/109.517 8 (55) John McCaig/Victoria, B.C., Canada 1:51.769/109.512 9 (7) Sepp Koster/The Netherlands 1:52.000/109.286 10 (95) Michael Valiante/Vancouver,Canada 1:52.151/109.139 11 (52) Jon Fogarty/Portola Valley, Calif. 1:52.345/108.950 12 (6) Peter Boss/Narragansett, R.I. 1:52.431/108.867 13 (16) Alexandre Sperafico/Brazil 1:52.973/108.344 14 (29) Josh Rehm/Plymouth, Mass. 1:53.065/108.256 15 (3) Kip Gulseth/Manitowac, Wisc. 1:54.053/107.319 16 (4) Brent Sherman/ Northbrook, Ill. 1:54.088/107.286 17 (13) R. B. Stiewing/Lime Rock, Conn. 1:54.207/107.174