This morning the Atlantic Championship held its qualifying session for the second race of its weekend here at the Autobahn Country Club. For the first time John Edwards' supremacy atop the time sheets was threatened, but not eclipsed. When all...
This morning the Atlantic Championship held its qualifying session for the second race of its weekend here at the Autobahn Country Club. For the first time John Edwards' supremacy atop the time sheets was threatened, but not eclipsed.
When all was said and done Edwards had emerged with his second pole of the weekend, and his career for that matter, at a quick time of 2:06.321. His teammate Jonathan Summerton fell just short, but still it marks the first time Newman Wachs Racing has swept the front row.
"The track was getting faster each lap and then I had a bit of a mistake on my last lap and the lap was much slower," Edwards admitting he could have gone quicker. "I was praying that no one was going to go quicker. Luckily I got my teammate on the last lap by a couple hundredths."
Series points leader Simona de Silvestro third for Team Stargate Worlds, as the top three separated by all of .069 of a second. Borja Garcia was fourth with local favorite Tonis Kasemets of nearby Mundelin, Ill. completing the top five.
In a frantic final few minutes of qualifying Edwards, Summerton, de Silvestro and series rookies Garcia and Frederic Vervisch each had their moments at the top of the timesheets. Summerton had the pole, Edwards beat it and then Summerton came up just shy on his final lap.
"It went pretty good, and we'll get there," Summerton said. "It's definitely a lot looser. I don't think it's our setup but there's a lot less grip."
De Silvestro reckoned she could score pole and discussed the potential for passing around the circuit.
"The whole qualifying was weird because of all the water running on the track," de Silvestro said. "I think we could have had pole because we caught traffic on our fast lap. We can work towards the front, hope to finish on podium, maybe win."
Garcia and Vervisch fell to fourth and sixth by the end of the session, split by Kasemets. Garcia improves from seventh to fourth on the grid.
The remainder of the 11-car field: Markus Niemela, James Winslow, Max Lefevre, Frankie Muniz and Michael Nacol. Muniz reckoned his car was quick but the driver wasn't; so props to the actor-turned-racer for being serious and not providing excuses.
Times were slower by about two seconds from Friday's first round on account of heavy overnight rains. The conditions wiped out all the rubber from the eight series running here this weekend and flooded the track in some parts, according to track officials.
A particular rough spot was a stream running across turns 8 and 9 of the 19-turn, 3.56-mile road course. It made keeping heat in the tires a challenge.
"Of course we had that stream running across 8 and 9, your tires get up to temps and then they cool right back off," Summerton said of the conditions. "It takes another half a lap warming them up."
Tomorrow's second Atlantic Championship race rolls off at 2:05 p.m. local time, same as today's first race. Both rounds six and seven are televised live on HDNet this weekend.