Luis Diaz Wins Pole For Monterrey Toyota Atlantic Race Dorricott Racing Takes Three Of First Four Grid Spots MONTERREY, Mexico (March 9) - - Luis Diaz, of Mexico City, proved to be the fastest driver for the opening round of the 12-race ...
Luis Diaz Wins Pole For Monterrey Toyota Atlantic Race
Dorricott Racing Takes Three Of First Four Grid Spots
MONTERREY, Mexico (March 9) - - Luis Diaz, of Mexico City, proved to be the fastest driver for the opening round of the 12-race Toyota Atlantic Championship at Monterrey, Mexico, by winning the pole position outright for today's race. Diaz set another track record with a blistering lap of 1:27.089 (86.973 mph) around the 12-turn, 2.104-mile Fundidora Park to capture his first career pole position in a major international racing series. Diaz's record time broke the existing track record he set yesterday of 1:28.568 (85.521 mph).
The 32 lap/67.2 mile opening round of the 2002 Toyota Atlantic Championship is set to drop the green flag today at 3:00 p.m. (CT). It is the featured support race for tomorrow's CART FedEx Championship Series Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix.
New CART mandated qualifying enhancements provided Diaz with one bonus point for his provisional pole on Friday. Because he was fastest in second round qualifying, he earned another bonus point. Joey Hand, of Sacramento, Calif., will start on the outside pole with a time of 1:27.515 (86.550 mph).
"My car kept getting faster but that's about my crew's hard work and my engineer, Gerald Tyler," said Diaz. "Gerald is an amazing engineer. He made the car go faster. I didn't change anything. He just tuned the car a bit more and that was all it needed. I expected to go faster this morning but not this much faster. I figured two-tenths of a second at best from yesterday. I think a one-half second gain is a lot for this track."
Teammate Alex Gurney, of Newport Beach, Calif., was Diaz's closest challenger on Friday with the second fastest time. After a slow start, Gurney kicked it up a notch and finished third fastest overall at 1:27.643 (86.423 mph). This was a significant improvement from his best lap of 1:28.771 (85.325 mph) in provisional qualifying.
"We were experimenting in the first part of the session," said Gurney. "I started on the same tires as yesterday. It didn't feel right. We ended up changing tires and settings in the middle of qualifying but lost around 15 minutes of track time. When I went back, my radio was bugging me with a loud beeping noise. It wouldn't go away so I was trying to yank it out for a couple of laps. I had a few clear laps at the end and a couple of 'ok' ones. We still have same space before catching Luis."
Jon Fogarty, of Portola Valley, Calif., entered qualifying as arguably the fastest driver for Dorricott Racing but his car was sidelined most of provisional qualifying with a broken gearbox. Fogarty's crew pulled a virtual "all-nighter" to repair his motor and the results were self evident. Fogarty ran in the front of the 23-car field for most of final qualifying but chose not to chance a late session red-flag. He exited qualifying with three minutes remaining. His Thomas Fogarty Winery and Vineyards Swift 014.a qualified fourth overall with a time of 1:27.703 (86.364 mph). This was a major leap from Friday's slower time of 1:29.194 (84.921 mph).
"We obviously corrected yesterday's gearbox problem," said Fogarty. "Regardless, I don't think we could have run a time to beat Luis but had we stayed out, maybe we would have had the time to stay second place. The new set of tires we used didn't give us what we needed. Perhaps we changed tires a little late when the track was going away. The track wasn't as good in the second half of the session. People were dropping wheels and getting dirt and grass all over it. At least we're better than we were yesterday."
Speed Channel will provide a same-day delayed telecast of the Monterrey Toyota Atlantic Championship race from 9:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. ET (6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. PT), Saturday, March 9.
Dorricott Racing is a year-round professional motorsports organization with its race shop located in Bakersfield, Calif.