(VANCOUVER, B.C.) September 1, 2001 -Every Barber Dodge Pro Series driver bar Nicolas Rondet left the Concord Pacific Place Circuit in Vancouver hoping the weatherman was wrong. By late Friday evening the raindrops began to pitter-patter across...
(VANCOUVER, B.C.) September 1, 2001 -Every Barber Dodge Pro Series driver bar Nicolas Rondet left the Concord Pacific Place Circuit in Vancouver hoping the weatherman was wrong. By late Friday evening the raindrops began to pitter-patter across Vancouver and didn't let up until just past dawn, in effect ensuring that Nicolas Rondet would keep his provisional pole. For the third time this season the Frenchman will pace the field in his Mini Vacations Dodge Reynard when they take the green flag for round 11 of 12 at 3:15 p.m. Saturday afternoon. The championship point he gains aids his opportunity to wrap up the series title and win the $300,000 Career Enhancement Award. To do so he must leave Vancouver with a 29-point advantage over his nearest rival. As of qualifying he enjoys a 20-point lead over Sepp Koster. The balance of the times from the provisional session, held in dry conditions yesterday afternoon remained unchanged, leaving Roger Yasukawa of Santa Monica, Calif. on the front row and Marc Breuers of Philadelphia, Penn. on the third starting slot.
The wet track rendered the final qualifying session ostensibly a test session as drivers ventured out to explore the track on Michelin Pilot SX rain tires to check wet weather settings in the event that race begins under similar circumstances. For the moment, forecasts predict a dry race, yet weather in the Pacific Northwest is a fickle friend indeed.
Rondet's session did see a bit of drama. Three laps in, he attempted to get past some slowing cars into turn-6. As he came along the inside, his car aquaplaned under braking. Tommy Fogarty who had slowed and put his arm up to acknowledge a flag from a corner worker turned into the corner as normal. The sliding car of Rondet helplessly tangled with Fogarty's and as the cars pirouetted in unison the front of Rondet's machine slid up over the nose of Fogarty's car coming to rest on top of Fogarty's head. A few anxious moments passed until Fogarty could be seen moving his left arm. The CART Simple Green Safety units led by Dr. Terry Trammell were on the seen immediately and were able to extricate Fogarty safely, who emerged under his own power with nothing more than a small cut to his right forearm. Fogarty, who suffered a broken neck in February of this year, once again praised the HANS Device, which he believes saved him.
Quotes from Top Three:
Nicolas Rondet, No. 24 Mini Vacations Dodge Reynard.-
"I considered not going out at all but because of the uncertain forecast, I wanted to see what the track would be like if it did rain. This result is great for the championship and even better that Roger and Marc are next to me. Hopefully this afternoon I can take off for the lead and these guys will battle behind me protecting me from Sepp (Koster) and Matt (Plumb)."
Roger Yasukawa, No. 8 Tokyo Ueno Clinic Dodge Reynard-
"Today I have a good chance to challenge for the win starting from the front row. I know that Nicolas might drive conservatively to keep points, and at the same time I have to go all out to score maximum points. I think I've got a good chance today to get my first Barber Dodge win."
Marc Breuers, No. 94 Sunoco Special Dodge Reynard-
"I had a great car yesterday in the dry and I'm hoping that the track is dry for our race later today. Turn-1 is a fairly big turn and two cars side-by-side is certainly a possibility. It narrows into turn-3 fairly quickly, so the field is going to have to sort itself out by then. Being on the inside can be an advantage. Later in the race passing is very difficult, almost requiring a mistake by the driver your attempting to pass."
The race start is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. PST immediately following qualifying for the CART FedEx Molson Indy Vancouver. Live timing is available at barberdodge.com