Vancouver: Friday qualifying report

Martinez scores Vancouver provisional pole. (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) July 25, 2003- David Martinez of Monterrey, Mexico, took the pole position in first-round qualifying for Sunday's Barber Dodge Pro Series race in Vancouver with a...

Martinez scores Vancouver provisional pole.

(Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) July 25, 2003- David Martinez of Monterrey, Mexico, took the pole position in first-round qualifying for Sunday's Barber Dodge Pro Series race in Vancouver with a fast lap time of 1:15.265 on the 1.781-mile temporary street circuit. Memo Rojas finished the session in second place on the provisional grid, with Dan Di Leo taking third.

Leo Maia of Oakland, California scored fourth position, with German Quiroga of Mexico City, Mexico taking fifth ahead of Antoine Bessette. Barber-Champ Car Scholarship driver Colin Fleming qualified seventh, with fellow Barber-Champ Car Scholarship racer Burt Frisselle of Kihei, Hawaii, taking eighth. Nelson Philippe of Valence, France qualified ninth, with Barber-Champ Car Scholarship driver Scott Poirier taking his Michelin-liveried machine to tenth.

Memo Rojas, who took his first ever win in Barber Dodge competition at Toronto two weeks ago, stood atop the charts for the first half of the session, improving on his times nearly every lap before being bested by German Quiroga. Fellow Mexican Martinez took the top spot with a 1:16.09-second lap while championship points leader Leo Maia was the first to break into the :15 second bracket with a 1:15.863, which Martinez very nearly matched with a 1:15.866. Di Leo then took the pole with thirteen minutes remaining before Maia retook the spot once again. Dan Di Leo put another flyer in to take the pole back, but Martinez spoiled the party for Di Leo, though, with his fastest lap of 1:15.265 seconds, just .020 seconds off of the track record, set in qualifying last year by 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series champion A.J. Allmendinger. The session was red-flagged with five minutes remaining to remove debris from the track after Di Leo spun on the front straight when he getting caught out by the curbing in the fast final chicane. The session went back to green flag conditions again, but with just two minutes remaining, none of the drivers were able to get fully up to speed and improve on their times.

Martinez scores one championship point for the pole effort and is guaranteed to start on the front row in Sunday's race, something he knows can play an important role come race day.

"Starting on the front row is good, and I'm glad to have that secured already. I have never been here to this track, but I saw the video from last year where there was a multi-car incident on the first lap), so I'm glad to be in the front," said Martinez.

The provisional pole position is the third of the season for Martinez, who is determined to convert it into his first final pole position of the season.

"I'm going to go for that final championship point and try to break the record tomorrow. I wasn't able to hang onto the pole in Monterrey and Toronto, so its really what I want to do tomorrow. As far as the championship goes, Leo has a big gap, so the best way to approach that is point by point, and just fight for every one every time you have the chance to do so."

Memo Rojas is still riding high from his victory in Toronto two weeks ago, and was hoping to score a championship point in first qualifying, but didn't have luck in his corner.

"My car was pretty good during the session, and I was pushing very hard," said Rojas. "I went in for a pit stop, and when I went back out, I got caught behind some traffic, and then I got clear of them, but I was running behind Di Leo when he spun, so I couldn't improve since I had to back out of the throttle to avoid hitting him, but that's the way it goes. I have a good car, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

Dan Di Leo held on to third position despite making contact with the wall and brining out a red flag late in the session.

"Its not the way you want to end the session, and I want to apologize to my competitors for causing the red flag," said Di Leo. "The car was decent, I was on pole for a part of the session and then I'm not sure what happened, if there was oil on the track or what, but I just got loose and then spun and hit the wall, which knocked my rear wing off and brought out the red. It was just a little mistake, but on a street course, you pay for that. It shouldn't be a big deal to get the car all set for tomorrow and hopefully we can challenge David for the pole tomorrow."

Final qualifying will take place Saturday at 1:00 p.m. EST.

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About this article
Series Barber Pro
Drivers German Quiroga , Memo Rojas , A.J. Allmendinger , Burt Frisselle , Scott Poirier , Colin Fleming , David Martinez , Nelson Philippe , Antoine Bessette