Malkhassian Paces Morning MX-5 Practice in Utah TOOELE, Utah (Sept. 13, 2007) -- Ara Malkhassain, of Sonoma, Calif., topped the time sheets in the first practice session for Round Eight of the SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5...
Malkhassian Paces Morning MX-5 Practice in Utah
TOOELE, Utah (Sept. 13, 2007) -- Ara Malkhassain, of Sonoma, Calif., topped the time sheets in the first practice session for Round Eight of the SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup at Miller Motorsports Park, part of the Sunchaser 1000 weekend. His teammate Jesse Combs, of Houston, Texas, and new MX-5 Cup Champion Jason Saini, of Fort Worth, Texas, were second and third fastest, respectively.
Already in the record books for the fastest MX-5 Cup race lap at Miller Motorsports Park, Malkhassian hasn't missed a beat on his return to the 4.5-mile course. The driver of the No. 11 Alara Racing MX-5 turned the fastest lap of the morning session with a 3:21.612 (80.102 mph).
"This is a great track," Malkhassian said. "What's difficult about it, is putting together a good lap, because it's 23 corners. It's a challenge being able to piece together a good lap and we're glad we were able to do that today in practice. Ken Murillo, our crew chief, is outstanding and I have to thank Red Line Oil for their support.
"We've been testing here quite a bit, trying to find different setups and I think we've found a good one. The car feels great and it'll be even better with new tires."
Malkhassian was followed by teammate Combs on the time sheets. Driving the No. 7 Coolgas Ltd. MX-5, Combs entered a 3:22.053 (79.927 mph).
Saini, who clinched this year's Championship last month at Trois-Rivieres, was third fastest in the session, turning a 3:22.632 (79.699 mph) in his No. 28 Autobarn Mazda/Saferacer.com MX-5.
Andrew Caddell, of Graham, Wash., who is currently battling Malkhassian for second in the Championship, ended the session in fourth. The No. 30 TeamMER/AimSport/Pinnacle Mazda MX-5 driver entered a 3:22.718 (79.665 mph).
Driving the No. 19 Hooverspeed MX-5, Bob Michaelian, of Seal Beach, Calif., completed the top five with a lap of 3:23.427 (79.387 mph).
Charles Espenlaub, Matt Cross, Pratt Cole, Tim Probert and Barry A. Fromberg completed the top ten.
The second MX-5 Cup practice session at Miller Motorsports Park is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. (EDT).