Fogarty obliterates Toronto track record; earns Atlantic provisional pole for Saturday's race. TORONTO (July 5, 2002) -- After Friday morning's CART Toyota Atlantic Championship practice in Toronto, the run for the provisional pole seemed ...
Fogarty obliterates Toronto track record; earns Atlantic provisional pole for Saturday's race.
TORONTO (July 5, 2002) -- After Friday morning's CART Toyota Atlantic Championship practice in Toronto, the run for the provisional pole seemed possible for over half of the field. By the time the qualifying session had ended this afternoon at the 1.755-mile temporary street circuit in Toronto, Jon Fogarty (Dorricott Racing/Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards Swift 014.a) had put all those thoughts to rest.
Fogarty's time of 1:05.578 seconds (96.343 mph) shattered David Rutledge's 2001 track record by nearly one second and more importantly, earned him another bonus point in the tight Championship battle with Michael Valiante (Lynx Racing Swift 014.a). In fact, two other drivers posted times below Rutledge's mark of 1:06.419 seconds (95.123 mph). Fogarty's teammate, Luis Diaz (Dorricott Racing/Telmex Swift 014.a) was second with a time of 1:06.047 seconds (95.659 mph), followed by Sepp Koster (Michael Shank Racing/Blue Bay Golf Resort/Uitert/Respons Swift 014.a) with a time of 1:06.204 seconds (95.432 mph).
"This was an exceptional session," said Fogarty. "Things went my way. We went to stickers midway through the session. When we did, I was fortunate to not catch any backmarkers and I was able to maximize the Yokohama tires when they were at their prime. It was like connecting the dots and finishing the puzzle. My fast lap felt great. I knew coming across the start-finish line it was fast, but certainly didn't know it would be a track record. It was good enough for the pole, but I hope it will be good enough to hold through tomorrow. That is, of course, unless I can run even faster."
Fogarty will hold the provisional pole heading into tomorrow morning's 9:00 a.m. EST qualifying session and by setting the fastest time today, he is guaranteed a front row starting spot for Saturday afternoon's 35-lap race.
Koster's first-half of the season has not started off the way he had hoped, but Toronto could be the turning point for the Netherlands' driver. Koster's best career start to date is sixth which came in June at Laguna Seca. Koster looks solid to earn his best starting spot of the season tomorrow.
"I'm pretty happy to be up here," said Koster. We made some changes to the car after I was in first and second, so we didn't go as fast, but I'm happy for my team and we hope we will do even better next session."
Diaz has earned two poles so far this season, taking them at Monterrey, Mexico and Portland, but his third may be tough to overcome with his teammate at the point. "I'm glad to have another good qualifying session. I think we have a good car. My crew is getting the set-up the way I need it for this type of track. I would naturally like to improve one more spot but if I start from the outside pole, it isn't as if we didn't do well. I predict tomorrow morning's final qualifying session will be tougher than some might expect. I know I'll be seeking to improve my time."
With the provisional pole, Fogarty extended his Championship points lead to two points over Michael Valiante. Valiante placed fourth this afternoon with a time of 1:06.443 seconds (95.089 mph) with the final Dorricott driver, Alex Gurney (Dorricott Racing/Behr Castrol Swift 014.a), rounding out the top five with a time of 1:06.495 seconds (95.015 mph).
The session was slowed once when Kyle Krisiloff (21st Century Technology/U.S. Grand Prix/Patrick Racing Swift 014.a), ran into the Turn 5 tire barriers late in the session. The CART Simple Green Safety Team cleared the scene quickly to give the competitors a few more green flag laps to knock Fogarty off the pole, but time ran out before anybody could do so.
The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship will get back into action tomorrow morning with second round qualifying at 9:00 a.m. EST followed by the Round 7 race that takes place at 3:30 p.m. ET. Speed Channel will televise the 35-lap event from Toronto LIVE with a repeat showing on July 8th at 9:30 p.m. EST.
The CART Toyota Atlantic Championship is one of the world's premier open-wheel development series and the top rung on CART's "ladder system", as well as having $100,000 race purses and a one million dollar points fund. It is also noted for its long history of graduating its stars into CART competition. Among the drivers who have graduated from the Atlantic Series are CART Champ Car stars Michael Andretti, Jimmy Vasser, Patrick Carpentier, Alex Tagliani as well as former series champions Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan and Jacques Villeneuve.