Cleveland: Friday qualifying notes

Maia repeats pole performance in Cleveland Cleveland, OH July 04, 2003- Leo Maia of Oakland, California, took the pole position in final qualifying for Saturday's Barber Dodge Pro Series race with a 1:14.118 second lap on the 2.106 mile...

Maia repeats pole performance in Cleveland

Cleveland, OH July 04, 2003- Leo Maia of Oakland, California, took the pole position in final qualifying for Saturday's Barber Dodge Pro Series race with a 1:14.118 second lap on the 2.106 mile temporary circuit on Burke Lakefront Airport. Canada's Dan Di Leo qualified second with a 1:14.302 second effort while David Martinez took third position with a 1:14.598. The Barber Dodge Pro Series demonstrated again how competitive qualifying is as the top eleven drivers had times within just second of the pole time.

Memo Rojas of Mexico City, Mexico, matched his position from Thursday with his fourth place effort in the second session. Burt Frisselle improved his qualifying form to move from eighth on the grid up to start in fifth, with Mexican German Quiroga starting alongside in sixth. Luis Pelayo and Barber Champ Car Scholarship Scott Poirier will take the green flag from the fourth row, with Ryan Millen making his first top ten start in his nascent Barber Dodge Pro Series career from ninth, alongside of Portland round podium finisher Colin Fleming.

The half hour qualifying session was held in hot and sunny conditions, but a steady wind continued to gain pace throughout the session. The times dropped quickly in the early moments, with the drivers getting down into the 1:14 second bracket just ten minutes into the session, but the order remained largely static until the closing minutes of the session as the drivers benefited from their fully warmed Michelins as well as from the fuel load having burned down and reducing the weight of the car.

Leo Maia extended his championship lead once again with the point that he earned with Friday's performance to stretch his lead to twenty seven points over Di Leo, and is looking forward to getting the race started tomorrow.

"I'm happy to get the pole since I didn't really feel as though I got to the full potential of the car today," said Maia. "My car was working great, but I had a couple of incidents during some fast laps that kept me from getting any faster-a couple of cars spun in front of me, for example, and that slowed me down. The wind also made things a little tricky, since the car would push in some corners and then have oversteer in others."

When asked if he was hoping to take the track record of 1:14.032 seconds, set by Davy Cook last season, Maia was clear about his goals.

"I definitely was going for Davy's track record, but I guess I'll have to let him keep it! I am looking forward to the race start, hoping it will be a good clean run out of the first corner and that these guys can race a bit behind me so I can get out in front, and they can put on a show for the fans."

Dan Di Leo duplicated his Thursday performance not only with his final position of second, but also too in how he got to that spot, as the young Canadian was again fastest in the early segments before Maia took the pole late in the session.

"The way my car is set up, its just better on cold tires, so I wasn't able to match Leo's pace today," said Di Leo. "Its something I have struggled with all weekend. Second position isn't where I want to be, but its just qualifying, and tomorrows race should be different. The wind did play a bit of a role, mostly because it just meant that the conditions were different at each corner from lap to lap, and with the commitment that is required to be fast here, it just kept you on your toes. The car is good on cold tires, so I am hoping I can put some pressure on Leo at the beginning of the race."

David Martinez moved his way up the timesheets during the session, and saved the best for last as he knocked fellow Mexican Memo Rojas from third down to fourth with his session-ending lap.

"I was running mostly by myself for most of the session," said Martinez. "It took quite a bit of time for me to get up to competitive speed, but I am still working on learning my way around here, but I was glad I was able to get that last lap in and get up to third again. I know that tomorrow, if I am running behind these guys, I can keep learning and hopefully use that to get out in front."

Round six of the 2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series championship is scheduled to get underway at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday. Full results and story to be posted at www.barberdodge.com.

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Series Barber Pro
Drivers German Quiroga , Davy Cook , Memo Rojas , Burt Frisselle , Scott Poirier , Colin Fleming , David Martinez , Luis Pelayo , Ryan Millen