Vancouver: Saturday qualifying notes

Dalziel Edges Fogarty for Final Vancouver Atlantic Pole VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada (July 24, 2004) -- Proving that he has quite a flare for the dramatic, Ryan Dalziel ( ...

Dalziel Edges Fogarty for Final Vancouver Atlantic Pole

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada (July 24, 2004) -- Proving that he has quite a flare for the dramatic, Ryan Dalziel (#28 ProWorks) saved his best for last on his final lap and grabbed the final pole position for Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver Atlantic race -- Round 8 of the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama (tape-delayed on SPEED Channel, Saturday, August 7 - 12 p.m. ET).

The final few minutes of the 30-minute qualifying session on the 1.781-mile street circuit kept the sun-drenched crowd of more than 50,000 on the edge of their seats at Concord Pacific Place. The Atlantic track record of 1:09.759 (91.911 mph), held by former series champion Hoover Orsi in 2001, was shattered just seven minutes into the qualifying session.

Series point leader Jon Fogarty (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment) was the first to top Orsi's mark, established the last time that the Atlantic series raced in Vancouver, but he certainly wasn't the last. In all, the top six drivers from the session broke the old record.

As time ticked down on qualifying, drivers continued to shave time off their best laps when rookie Josh Hunt (#15 Wright/Patton/Shakespeare/Atkinson Gore Group) caused the only red flag of the session when he spun into the tire wall at Turn 1. Hunt was uninjured in the incident but he wasn't able to continue. Just over three minutes remained in qualifying by the time the cleanup was done from Hunt's crash, leaving a furious shootout for the final pole.

Fogarty looked as if he had won the pole when he posted a time of 1:09.183 (92.676 mph) with under a minute left. Dalziel would have the final say, however, as he got one more quick lap around the course before seeing the checkered flag. The young Scot, who sits second in the season championship behind Fogarty, blistered across the line in 1:09.036 (92.873 mph) to grab his seventh career pole and fourth of the season, while establishing a new Atlantic track record.

The point earned for the pole position ups Dalziel's total to 166 for the season, trimming Fogarty's lead in the title chase back to 19 points.

Fogarty will start alongside Dalziel on the front row tomorrow, after finishing with the second-fastest time of the day. It will mark the sixth time this season that the 2002 Atlantic champion will start on the front row this season.

Starting third on Sunday will be American hot shoe Bryan Sellers (#19 Lynx Racing). After finishing fifth in provisional qualifying on Friday, Sellers and the Lynx team made some drastic changes to the car and it showed as he ran among the top three consistently in both the morning practice and the qualifying session. He also posted his top lap late, recording a time of 1:09.250 (92.586 mph). It marks the seventh time this season that the Ohio native will start in the top five.

Rookie Ronnie Bremer (#4 PaySystems) qualified among the top five for the fourth time this season as he carded the fourth-quickest lap of the weekend at 1:09.394 (92.394 mph).

Fellow freshman and Canadian crowd favorite Andrew Ranger (#27 Tide/Charmin/Mr. Clean/Snugabye) bounced back from a painful qualifying session on Friday and will start fifth on Sunday after posting a time of 1:09.409 (92.374 mph). The 17-year-old from Quebec's Roxton Pond crashed hard early in Friday's qualifying, injuring his neck in the process. After his Sierra Sierra Enterprises crew worked hard to repair his car overnight, the young gun overcame his discomfort and rewarded the team with his seventh top-five qualifying effort of the season.

Qualifying sixth was Danica Patrick (#24 Argent Mortgage Company) of Rahal-Letterman Racing. She was clocked at 1:09.490 (92.267 mph) as the last driver to surpass the previous track record. The 22-year-old racer has now qualified among the top six competitors in seven of eight races this season.

Alex Figge (#69 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment) was seventh on the day with a mark of 1:10.139 (91.413 mph) while rookie Chris Festa (#25 SpacePak/CareCentric) was eighth quick in qualifying at 1:10.538 (90.896 mph).

Hunt posted a top lap of 1:10.617 (90.794 mph) before his crash as he finished ninth in the rundown. Canadian drivers occupied the final four spots in the qualifying order as Philip Fayer (#3 PaySystems) of Montreal owned a time of 1:11.242 (89.997 mph) to round out the top 10. Ontario's Eric Jensen (#2 Penn Capital/Konica Minolta) was 11th at 1:13.571 (87.148 mph), Calgary's Cam Binder (#65 Avmax/Western Avionics) had a time of 1:14.501 (86.061 mph) in the lone C2 entry of the weekend and Dr. Chris Souliotis (Trident/Speedway/Spinnakers) of nearby Victoria, B.C. had a mark of 1:14.702 (85.829 mph).

Sunday will see the Atlantic cars take to the track at 8 a.m. PT for a 15-minute warm-up session and the Molson Indy Vancouver Atlantic race will begin at 10:30 a.m. PT. Follow all of the action of the top open-wheel development series in North America at www.toyotaatlantic.com.

Quotes from the top three qualifiers from Friday, as well as top series rookie Andrew Ranger, follow:

RYAN DALZIEL (#28 ProWorks) set the pole-winning time on the last lap of the session. "It's not always fun leaving it to the end like that. We spent yesterday learning the track. My team did a good job just letting me learn and not getting flustered. It wasn't a perfect (qualifying) session with the red flags. We try to roll off the truck with at least a second- or third-place (qualifying) car (and go from there). This was a huge psychological boost for our team (to get the pole). We really struggled coming in here (from Toronto). The team was kind of down for a couple of days. So many people have proved this weekend that if you make just a small mistake and you can end up in the tires."

JON FOGARTY (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment) "We were quick out of the box (this afternoon), about a half second ahead of the field. I got a little hot in (turns) 4 and 5 and tagged the wall (resulting in a flat tire). Obviously, we had to change tires. We waited to go back out. We figured Ryan would use up his tires and we could go out with fresh tires. We got caught by the red flags. The car was good; we just didn't play our cards right. I knew my time was good enough for P1 (the pole). I figured those guys would lower their times, but not by that much. We just didn't play our cards right. We're here to score points and a win would be nice. It's a tricky track. I've had my moments - we all have. (There were a number of Champ Car and Atlantic crashes) We can't be concerned (about that). With a 50-minute race, we have to just go for it."

BRYAN SELLERS (#19 Lynx Racing) "We were about eight-tenths of a second off the pace yesterday so today's morning (practice) session was a good time to try some changes. We still have a way to go to be consistently competitive with Ryan and Jon. We concentrated on the front of the car which is where I thought we needed the most work. The track has improved in certain spots in significant amounts. It seems like more rubber that gets laid down in turns 1 and 2 and in 6 and 7, which was most significant for us. (For the race) you have to be on your game the whole time. There's more (speed) to come (from his car)."

ANDREW RANGER (#27 Tide/Charmin/Mr. Clean/Snugabye) suffered a neck strain in a crash in qualifying Friday in turn 12 and had no time entering today's session. He qualified fifth today. "It was a good session. We started late to save tires. I had no problems anywhere but that last turn. The car was loose and I kept losing some time there. If it weren't for that, I had a top-three car. The car is running very well - it's just that last turn."

-ccws-

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Ryan Dalziel , Jon Fogarty , Alex Figge , Eric Jensen , Ronnie Bremer , Bryan Sellers , Andrew Ranger , Philip Fayer , Chris Festa , Josh Hunt , Chris Souliotis , Danica Patrick
Teams Trident