Lynx Racing drivers David Rutledge and Michael Valiante, both of Vancouver, B.C., have qualified third and fourth for tomorrow's running of the Grand Prix du Trois Rivieres. On the pole is Rutledge's principal competitor for the 2001 ...
Lynx Racing drivers David Rutledge and Michael Valiante, both of Vancouver, B.C., have qualified third and fourth for tomorrow's running of the Grand Prix du Trois Rivieres. On the pole is Rutledge's principal competitor for the 2001 Atlantic championship, Hoover Orsi, and alongside him on the front row is Martin Basso, the driver with whom Valiante collided in Toronto - all the makings of a truly interesting first lap.
"It's been kind of a slippery day for me," says Rutledge, who drives the #19 Lynx Racing Swift 008.a. "I ticked the tire wall with the rear wing in the morning, and had to come in for the team to replace it. Then this afternoon, I carried too much speed into turn five and put the nose into the tire wall. I'm fine and the car will be easily repaired for tomorrow, but it has limited my time here at this very difficult track. And, in Atlantic, your position in the pits is assigned by how you did in the last race, so because of our 12th-place finish in Chicago, we're halfway back in the pits and every time I go out I'm in the middle of a pack of slower cars. All those things aside, we have a good car and we always knew that during the season we'd have to win one from in the field instead of the pole, and this looks like the one."
Rutledge has been on the pole for and won every Canadian race so far (Montreal and Toronto), and is currently a close second to Orsi in the Atlantic championship battle. In this race last year, he was running third when a brake problem forced him into a runoff area, and he wound up finishing 13th.
Valiante, in his first-ever visit to the Trois Rivieres circuit, impressed those familiar with the tricky track by qualifying his #95 Lynx Racing / Italian Motors /Newlife Development / Copart Auto Auctions Swift 008.a. in fourth.
"The track was a lot slipperier than this morning, which took me by surprise just a little, but one I got used to it, it was actually kind of fun," says Valiante. "You usually can't get away with sliding these cars too much, but you have to here and it feels like a kart race in some ways. It's going to be an all-Canadian second row versus an all South American front row, and one of those guys is the one who took me out in Toronto, so we'll have to be careful. But David and I work well together, and there's a long straight that's good for drafting and several braking zones that are good for passing, so I think we have a good chance in the race tomorrow."
Lynx Racing's history at this track includes a pair of victories from the pole in 1996 with Patrick Carpentier, now driving for Player's/Forsythe in CART. In 1998, Memo Gidley, now driving for Target Chip Ganassi, started and finished fourth. And in 1999, Buddy Rice, now under contract to Team Rahal, was leading the race when he slid wide in a turn and contacted the barrier
The 45 lap / 68.43 mile Atlantic race scheduled to take the green flag at 1:40 pm Sunday, August 5. ESPN2 and ESPN International will broadcast Sunday's Round 8 race from Trois-Rivieres on Saturday, August 11, at 5:00 p.m. ET, while Atlantic fans in Canada can watch the race on CTV SportsNet on Tuesday, August 14, at 7:00 p.m. in the EAST, ONTARIO and WEST time zones, and at 8:00 p.m. in the PACIFIC zone. CTV repeat dates are: EAST, Thursday, August 16, 1:30 p.m., PACIFIC, Friday, August 17, 3:00 p.m., WEST, Thursday, August 16, 3:00 p.m., and ONTARIO, no repeat date. ESPN2 will replay the race on Tuesday, August 14, at 4:00 a.m. EST.