(Toronto, Ontario) July 12, 2003- Barber Dodge Pro Series Championship points leader Leo Maia extended his lead by one point today with his pole-winning time of 1:11.720 seconds on the 1.755 mile temporary street circuit in Toronto during final...
(Toronto, Ontario) July 12, 2003- Barber Dodge Pro Series Championship points leader Leo Maia extended his lead by one point today with his pole-winning time of 1:11.720 seconds on the 1.755 mile temporary street circuit in Toronto during final qualifying for Sunday's race.
Maia will line up next to Friday's provisional pole winner David Martinez of Monterrey, Mexico. Dan Di Leo of nearby Markham, Ontario, Canada, came up just .019 seconds short in his bid for the pole, and will start the race from the third position next to Memo Rojas. Antoine Bessette and Nelson Philippe comprise the third row, with Colin Fleming and Chris Green lining up in the fourth row. Burt Frisselle and German Quiroga will take the green flag from ninth and tenth positions respectively.
The pole is Maia's fifth of the season, and moves him one point closer to his ultimate goal-the Barber Dodge Pro Series Championship. After scoring fourth on the provisional grid in Friday's wet qualifying, Maia stepped up in the dry session to secure the pole.
"I had some traffic to deal with, but I got a couple of clear laps in the middle segment of the session, and I was able to put some fast laps in," said Maia. "I found some free space on the track again later in the session, but by then, the track had gone off a bit with some moisture, and so I wasn't able to improve, but fortunately I was already fast enough for the pole."
Maia will start alongside of David Martinez, next to whom he started in round two at Monterrey, Mexico, where Martinez got inside Maia on the opening lap, and motored to a victory. Maia still has a championship in mind, but doesn't think he will make it easy for Martinez this time around.
"As far as the start goes, I'm going to be on the inside this time!" said Maia. "I don't think there is going to be much in the way of a problem here at this track. My main concern is getting into one cleanly and quickly so no one has a chance to get a run on me, and go racing from there."
Despite not being able to match Maia's pace in the second qualifying session, David Martinez will start on the front row after securing the position with his provisional pole effort on Friday
"It was really important to get the pole yesterday since I have a disadvantage not having run at all on the track when its dry," said Martinez. "But I have some adjustments I think we can make for tomorrow, now that I have the time on the track in the dry, I know how I will want the car to be tomorrow."
In the Monterrey round, Martinez intoned before the race that he was going to play it safe at the start, but when the green flag dropped, he made an aggressive start to capitalize on a small gap Maia left on the inside as the two went into the first corner, and motored to the win. The young Mexican was reluctant to divulge his strategy for the race start, but knows it won't be that easy this time around.
"Leo and I both have fast cars, but I'm not sure that Leo is going to leave me the room like he did in Monterrey, although I am confident that if we can set the car up for the dry a little bit better, and test it in the warm up tomorrow, I can have a good race."
Dan Di Leo had a strong qualifying session, but came up a mere .029 of a second short in his effort to take the pole and prevent Maia from scoring the point, but he is looking forward to the race in front of his home town fans.
"I am happy with where I am starting tomorrow, and I'm hoping we can get a good start from the second row, but it's a forty minute race, and my car is fast, so the first lap isn't going to be what decides the outcome," said Di Leo. "This was the first dry session of the weekend, and while it was a bit disappointing to come up just a bit short on Leo, I'm pleased we had such a fast car right out of the box."
The Toronto round is the first of three races which comprise the Dodge Trans-Canada Challenge, a championship consisting of the three Canadian events, Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, which will award the driver with the best results in the three events with a significant scholarship towards future Barber Dodge Pro Series races. The race is scheduled to take place Sunday at 10:00 a.m. EST.