(CLEVELAND, Ohio) June 30, 2001-Sepp Koster of Hemseerk the Netherlands blitzed a lap in the waning moments of qualifying for the sixth round of the Barber Dodge Pro Series to capture his fourth career pole. His Stora-Drain Dodge Reynard stopped...
(CLEVELAND, Ohio) June 30, 2001-Sepp Koster of Hemseerk the Netherlands blitzed a lap in the waning moments of qualifying for the sixth round of the Barber Dodge Pro Series to capture his fourth career pole. His Stora-Drain Dodge Reynard stopped the clocks in 1:14.316 sec for an average speed of 102.018 mph around Cleveland-Burke Lakefront Airport's 2.106-mile temporary circuit. American Marc Breuers will start alongside Koster, missing the prime starting position by a mere 0.013 sec. Provisional polesitter Matt Plumb improved on his time set in the first qualifying session but was relegated to the third starting position nevertheless.
Conditions were slight less sultry today than yesterday as Koster was the first to improve on the time established by Plumb just ten minutes into the 30-minute session. Plumb returned the favor to take the pole back three minutes later, and would keep the top slot until the 22nd minute when Breuers set the new standard. Just as the eyes focused on Breuer's name atop the timing screens, it was replaced by Koster's and so remained. Plumb's time set in the 13th minute would be his best effort on the day.
"Immediately when we went out on the track I felt that the car was good," said Koster, 26. "We know the start here can be a little dangerous and this is a really exciting track to race on. There's a lot of opportunity to pass, so hopefully I can get a good start and put a little distance between myself and the rest."
It seemed that Breuers' best ever qualifying performance in the provisional session would be all for not as he slipped from third quickest down the order. Yet in the 22nd minute he turned in a cracker lap that saw him go one better than yesterday and slot him into second position. On the next pass through the timing beams, his No. 94 Sunoco Special Dodge Reynard went even quicker at 1:14.420 sec, thus making him the driver to beat. It was short-lived as Koster did just that.
"The first thing I tried to do was erase some of the mistakes from yesterday. After looking at the data there were some clear errors. We made some adjustments to the car, and I to my driving style and it all worked out for the good," said Breuers.
Plumb was disappointed not to hang onto the pole, but looked on the bright side as he feels that being on the inside of the second row holds certain advantages. His quickest tour was a 1:14.452 sec.
"I knew from yesterday that there was more speed to be found so my plan was to go out and see how much faster. Early on I did one fast lap to put in the bank and it turned out to be my last lap of the day. I made one more run at the end to try to improve and ended up with a mistake that forced me off the track momentarily," said Plumb who drives the No. 4 Premier Nutrition Dodge Reynard.
Despite a sore hand from a collision in yesterday's practice, Roger Yasukawa managed to secure the outside of row two. Peter Boss, who had been quick early on will round out the Top-5 while Ryan Hunter-Reay improves from tenth quickest to sixth. Ohio's Jon Morley starts seventh in his first race in Cleveland while the cousins Sperafico will start eighth and ninth, Alex ahead of Rafael. Akihira Okamaoto rounds out the fastest ten drivers.
The race start in support of the CART FedEx Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland takes place at 3:50 p.m. today. Severe thunder showers are currently threatening the area.