Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada (August 1, 2003) - A.J. Allmendinger tamed the Trois-Rivieres 1.521-mile, 11 turn temporary street circuit, setting a new qualifying track record at 59.296 seconds for a speed of 92.343 mph. The RuSPORT rookie took...
Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada (August 1, 2003) - A.J. Allmendinger tamed the Trois-Rivieres 1.521-mile, 11 turn temporary street circuit, setting a new qualifying track record at 59.296 seconds for a speed of 92.343 mph. The RuSPORT rookie took the provisional pole in his debut at the historic track in the city also know as "Three Rivers".
Allmendinger has four victories under his belt already in the 2003 Toyota Atlantic Championship season; however, the years as not been as easy as it would appear. "Any one could take the pole or win this race, the field is so strong," stated Allmendinger on tomorrow's final qualifying and Sunday's forty-five lap race.
The series' points leader has guaranteed himself one bonus point toward the championship crown and a front row starting position. "Still a lot to learn on this track," admits Allmendinger. "There is speed left in myself and the car - hopefully we will peak at the same time."
Michael Valiante hopes to change that idea, as the second-fastest driver in today's qualifying would like to sit on top of the grid for one of his two home country races. The Lynx Racing veteran driver was clocked at 59.905 (91.405 mph).
"It was tough today to get a clear lap," commented last year's Trois-Rivieres race winner Valiante. "For some reason, I just kept on getting traffic, so it was a little frustrating. The car is getting better every session, so I think we'll be stronger tomorrow."
Team Rahal's rookie, Danica Patrick was third fastest with a time of 1:00.052 (91.181 mph). Patrick would like to stay up in the top five to either match or improve on here best starting position in the 2003 season, fifth at Monterrey, Mexico in her first Atlantic start.
Patrick is pleased with the season thus far and the progress she and the team make at each event, "It's just a matter of working with the team and getting the car faster, because one wrong move, as I've always said, is going to put you behind the game two steps. We've been making the right steps forward and pushing hard at the same time. If you push hard and make the right changes you go forward."
The driver who originally posted the second fastest time of the session, was Jonathan Macri who crashed hard on the front straight with just minutes left in the session. Macri was not seriously injured and will return to the track tomorrow; however the Polestar Atlantic was damaged and the team will prepare the backup car for possible use.
CART Toyota Atlantic red-flag rule is the loss of the fastest lap by the driver who causes it, in this case Macri lost his best lap and has been moved to sixth on the provisional grid. If the team reverts to the backup car, Macri will lose all timed laps from today's qualifying session.