VANCOUVER, BC (September 1, 2001) -- Despite slamming his Swift into the turn 8 wall and only completing two laps, Brazil's Hoover Orsi (Hylton Motorsports/U.S. Print Swift) held on to the pole for Round 10 of the CART Toyota Atlantic...
VANCOUVER, BC (September 1, 2001) -- Despite slamming his Swift into the turn 8 wall and only completing two laps, Brazil's Hoover Orsi (Hylton Motorsports/U.S. Print Swift) held on to the pole for Round 10 of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship in Vancouver. Orsi set his track record time of 1:09.759 seconds (91.911 mph) during Friday's qualifying and the time was good enough to hold onto the pole despite a strong challenge by rookie, Joey Hand (DSTP Motorsports/BG Products Swift).
This was the fourth straight pole of the season for Orsi putting him with elite company in Atlantic history during the 1990's. Only Greg Ray, Richie Hearn, and Patrick Carpentier, who won eight poles straight in 1996, have been able to win more than four poles in a row. Friday's record run also continued another run of sorts. CART Toyota Atlantic Championship drivers have broken eight of the ten track records to date this year including every one on road and temporary street courses. Orsi's $1000 Toyota "Pole Award" allowed him to also win the bonus point towards the Championship extending his lead over Vancouver's David Rutledge (Lynx Racing Swift) to 48 points.
Orsi's incident came early in the session when he pushed wide on the exit of Turn 8 and made hard contact with the wall to the left side of his Swift 008.a. The car sustained heavy damage to the front and rear suspension, but appears that the rest of the car came away without any significant damage.
"I just went a little bit wide," said Orsi on his encounter with the wall. "With the rain this morning, we just had one clear line this afternoon. I just got a little high in the turn and got into the dirt and was unable to come back. The car just drove straight to the wall. It was a shame because my first two laps were pretty good. I was running seven-tenths quicker than yesterday in the first two laps, so I thought 'Oh my gosh, this is going to be quick this session. So I was concerned about that, thinking these guys would go quicker than my time yesterday, but fortunately, I was able to keep the pole and one more point to the championship."
Orsi was the first driver other than a Canadian or American driver to a pole in Vancouver. Canadian and Americans have held the same dominace over the race which Orsi will attempt to break in tomorrow's 38-lap event scheduled to begin at 11:15 a.m. PST.
Hand tied his best Atlantic career qualifying effort of second which he did at the season opening race at Long Beach. Hand looked to have a serious shot at the pole on his final tour of Vancouver's 1.781-mile layout after running 1:10.988 seconds the previous lap. Case Montgomery (Condor Motorsports/Ariba Swift) spun at the exit of turn 9 brining out a local yellow, which caused Hand to slow through the corner.
"I thought it had a 'seven' (1:09.7) in it," said Hand. "I knew the times were coming down every lap. The way the car was rolling, it was improving a few tenths every lap. I think my last lap would have been right at a seven, but Case spun. I saw the waving yellow coming around turn eight and you don't know if the car is sitting at the apex or sitting on the outside against the wall out of the way. So I checked up pretty big getting in there, saw where he was, and got back in the throttle. We were off a couple of tenths that final lap and that is probably where it happened."
Hand leads the Rookie of the Year battle over Jonathan Macri (P-1 Racing/NTN Bearings Swift) by one-point. Macri's quickest lap was 1:11.292 seconds (89.934 mph) and will start eighth in tomorrow's race.
Orsi will look to clinch the Championship over Rutledge in tomorrow's race. Rutledge failed to improve on his Friday time and will start third with a time of 1:10.288 seconds (91.219 mph). Rutledge's teammate, Michael Valiante (Lynx Racing/Italian Motors/Copart Auto Auctions Swift), also failed to better his time and will start fourth with a time of 1:10.425 seconds (91.042 mph).
"We made some major changes to the car last night, but the rain overnight changed the track so much that they didn't work quite the way we hoped, said hometown driver, Rutledge. "The car is much better in some areas than yesterday, but we still have some mid-corner push which is something we need to address between now and the race. Even so, the car is fairly well balanced and I expect to have a good car for the race. Passing here is not easy, and the start will be critical, but it's certainly possible to win from the second row, and I'll be driving flat-out every lap to do just that."
Argentina's Martin Basso (Michael Shank Racing/3b Engine Valves Swift) will start fifth tomorrow after posting a time of 1:10.506 seconds (90.937 mph). The top five drivers were all under Alex Tagliani's 1999 track record of 1:10.638 seconds (90.767 mph). Basso stands third in the Championship, 22-points behind Rutledge and is the only driver this season to complete every lap run during the first nine races.
The CART Toyota Atlantic teams are back on track on Sunday morning at 9:20 a.m. PST for a 15-minute warm-up session, followed by the 11:15 a.m. PST race.
ESPN2 and ESPN International will broadcast Sunday's Round 10 race from Vancouver on Sunday, September 9, at 10:00 a.m. ET, and Saturday, September 8, at 4:00 p.m. ET respectively, while Atlantic fans in Canada can watch the race on CTV SportsNet on dates to be announced shortly. ESPN2 will replay the race on Friday, September 21, at 5:30 a.m. ET.