Allmendinger takes Montreal pole. (Montreal, Quebec) August 24- A.J. Allmendinger of Hollister, California stole the pole position from Toledo Parana, Brazil native Rafael Sperafico in the dying moments of final qualifying for Sunday's Barber ...
Allmendinger takes Montreal pole.
(Montreal, Quebec) August 24- A.J. Allmendinger of Hollister, California stole the pole position from Toledo Parana, Brazil native Rafael Sperafico in the dying moments of final qualifying for Sunday's Barber Dodge Pro Series race with a fast lap time of 1.40.530 seconds at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. Starting alongside Allmendinger will be Friday's provisional pole winner Dan Di Leo, who is making his second consecutive front row start while 2001 Barber Dodge Rookie of the Year Sperafico will take the green flag from third position in Sunday's race. Marc Breuers, who scored his first Barber Dodge Pro Series win at Mid Ohio, qualified his Sunoco machine in fourth after isolating the problem he has had with his set up since Road Ameriaca and making some drastic changes to his car, putting him back towards the sharp end of the grid. Breuers currently sits in second place in the championship with a slim four-point lead over Sperafico.
Memo Rojas of Mexico City, Mexico will take the green flag from the fifth starting position with Josh Beaulieu starting sixth. Beaulieu has won previously at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve while driving in Canadian Formula Ford and will be hoping to repeat the feat in the Barber Dodge car on Sunday. Piero Rodarte, also of Mexico City, will start seventh after his Saturday effort moved him from his provisional 14th spot from Friday. Rodarte missed the Road America round last week and the break has apparently done him some good as his final qualifying effort yielded him his best ever starting position in Barber Dodge competition. Chris Baker also is starting from his best position in his rookie season with his eighth place effort being the Houston, Texas native's first start in the top ten in Barber Dodge. Leo Maia, who drove a flawless race at Road America on his way to taking his first win will start next to Cleveland round winner Davy Cook on the fifth row.
The top spot was hotly contested throughout the session, with Di Leo, Allmendinger, Sperafico, Quiorga all taking turns atop the sheets during the session. Quiorga, who continues to improve his form in the Barber Dodge car, was unable to improve on his time after mechanical issues kept him sidelined during the second half of the session. The half hour session was red flagged with 12 minutes remaining as Michael Vukelich suffered a broken axle and was left stranded on the course and the Simple Green Safety team moved the car to safety. The session went back to green flag conditions with only eight minutes remaining, meaning that the drivers had little time to get their cars up to speed to set a fast lap time. As the checkered flag waived, Rafael Sperafico was atop the order, but Allmendinger timed his run to perfection, benefiting from a late-lap draft of Dan Di Leo to take the pole.
The pole gives Allmendinger yet another championship point, although with the title secured at Mid Ohio, points are the last thing on Allmendinger's mind. Sundays race will be Allmendinger's sixth start from the front row as he looks to make it six wins for the season. A win would tie him with Kenny Brack, who took six wins out of twelve races in Barber competition in 1993, although Allmendinger has had only ten races to set that mark during the 2002 season. Allmendinger has been clear about his goal for the weekend-to win the race.
"The track was a lot better today," said Allmendinger, who gets credit for setting a new track record on the 2.709 mile course. "We had just a perfect set up for this session so it was just a matter of getting a clear lap. The race should be good tomorrow. I just have to be smart early so I can be there for the finish, hopefully in the lead."
Di Leo's time in Saturday's session was third quick but he will start on the front row thanks to his provisional pole-winning effort on Friday. Di Leo has continued to improve his craft in the Pro Series, and is looking forward to an exciting race on Sunday.
"It's largely a matter of me just getting more and more confidence in the car," said Di Leo. "This track is great since its so smooth you can pretty much put the car where you want to and where you need to be fast. As far as the start goes, AJ knows what he is doing in the car, so there shouldn't be any problems. If I get through the first turn in the lead, that would be great, but really, it's a long race, and I want to be in the lead at the end of the race, not at the beginning. "
Rafael Sperafico, who won the Laguna Seca round of competition, has been suffering from some back pain since the Mid Ohio round, but is on his way to recovery this weekend and was feeling more comfortable in the car today.
"My back is feeling much better, so I was driving as fast as my Barber Dodge car could go," said Sperafico. "I am not that disappointed to miss out by just a few thousandths to AJ. I would be more mad if I was half a second back. He got in a real good lap to have set that time. The race should be fun tomorrow."
Sunday's race will begin at 11:15 am. Full results and story to be posted at www.barberdodge.com.