Hinchcliffe sets record on way to pole

According to Toronto's favorite driver racing this weekend, "The season starts here. Long Beach was just a test that they gave away points for some reason", and so James Hinchcliffe continues to be just as funny in the Media Center as he is fast...

According to Toronto's favorite driver racing this weekend, "The season starts here. Long Beach was just a test that they gave away points for some reason", and so James Hinchcliffe continues to be just as funny in the Media Center as he is fast on the track.

And that's fast as in a lap time of 1:16.189, a new track record for an Atlantic car at Laguna Seca. Hinchcliffe was able to prove up on his stated goal on Friday, taking "a legitimate pole", the 5th of his Atlantic Championship career.

Saturday was fortunately slightly cooler than Friday at the Monterey Peninsula's track. Most surprising to those watching the practice sessions was Dutch driver Junior Strous not setting that track record or qualifying any higher than fourth. Strous recorded a lap time of 1:15.995, or just over 106 miles per hour, so he clearly could not get a clear lap.

Washington's' Carl Skerlong, racing for Pacific Coast Motorsports, was able to do so, and so starts second for Sunday's race. Friday's second place qualifier, Kevin Lacroix, qualified third today, this final day of qualifying. So, the first two rows will consist of Hinchcliffe, Skerlong, Lacroix, and Strous.

Other notable drivers in the field include local favorite and Long Beach pole winner Jonathan Bomarito, who starts seventh, Long Beach victor Simona De Silvestro, in a disappointing 14th place and yesterday's 3rd fastest qualifier, Markus Niemela, starting 5th.

Nigel Mansell's son Greg Mansell, joins Markus on row 3, starting 6th, while brother Leo will begin his race from the 16th position. A1GP winner Jonathan Summerton in 9th place, and is joined on row 5 by fellow American Dane Cameron.

The Sunday race promises to be interesting. The weather forecast calls for sunshine and an air temperature of 77 degrees. Prior to the race, the Swiss consul is scheduled to present a special recognition to Simona De Silvestro in honor of her being the first Swiss woman to win a professional auto race.

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Series Atlantic
Drivers Nigel Mansell , Jonathan Bomarito , Kevin Lacroix , Junior Strous , James Hinchcliffe , Greg Mansell , Dane Cameron , Jonathan Summerton , Carl Skerlong , Markus Niemela