Maia storms to Vancouver pole. Leo Maia of Oakland, California, took the pole position in final qualifying with a blistering 1:14.692 second lap on the 1.781-mile temporary street circuit to set a new track record and extend his championship ...
Maia storms to Vancouver pole.
Leo Maia of Oakland, California, took the pole position in final qualifying with a blistering 1:14.692 second lap on the 1.781-mile temporary street circuit to set a new track record and extend his championship points lead over Memo Rojas to thirty-seven points. David Martinez will start alongside Maia after securing a front-row starting position in the first qualifying session with the provisional pole. Barber-Champ Car Scholarship racer Colin Fleming's 1:14.845 second lap scored the young Californian third on the grid.
Dan Di Leo of Canada fell one spot from the first qualifying session and will start Sunday's race in fourth position with France's Nelson Philippe taking fifth. Barber-Champ Car Scholarship racer Scott Poirier has bounced back from a difficult Toronto weekend to secure sixth on the grid. Toronto round winner Memo Rojas will start alongside fellow Mexican German Quiroga in the fourth row, with Burt Frisselle and Antoine Bessette making up the fifth row.
The half-hour session was a hectic affair, with five different drivers holding onto the pole position, as the times dropping precipitously throughout. Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER Magazine driver Salvador Duran, making his first Barber Dodge Pro Series start, was the first to post a fast time with Colin Fleming quickly eclipsing the mark. David Martinez took the point from Fleming, and the two exchanged the pole spot three times, with the lap times dropping by nearly two seconds. Leo Maia got a clear lap to post a 1:15.431 before Fleming retook the pole with a 1:15.268 lap.
The times continued to drop as Martinez retook the pole on his next lap with a 1:15.158 before Maia reasserted himself with a 1:14.867 second lap, which he improved on each of the next three laps. Maia put his stamp on the session with his final fast lap time of 1:14.692 seconds to set a new track record.
Maia was uncharacteristically out of the top three in Friday's first qualifying session, and knew he would have to step up his game to get back to the front on Saturday.
"It was a little bit the track conditions, a little bit the car, and a lot me," said Maia. "I wasn't driving very well the first half of this weekend, and the competition in the Barber Dodge Pro Series is so tight, that you just have to be perfect every lap to be up front. I didn't know that I had the pole until the session was over and I got blocked on my last lap, and it was a fast one, so I was really mad until I found out I was on the pole!"
In what can't be good news to his competitors, Maia is feeling confident heading into the race.
" I have been conserving my tires a little this weekend, I and I hope to have a little bit more of an advantage for the race," said Maia. "Now I have a good car, and I'm driving well, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
David Martinez, who won the Monterrey, Mexico race in March, has impressed many in the paddock as he has shown a rare talent for getting up to speed right out of the box, despite not having run at many of the tracks that the Pro Series visits.
"We had a great session in the morning-I got to try a bunch of things and we have the car pretty much where we want it," said Martinez. "I think Leo did a great lap, but I made a mistake on my last lap, and so I couldn't quite match his time. The good thing is we have a front row start, and its going to be a long race tomorrow. As far as the start goes, I think Leo and I respect each other on the track, so I don't expect any problems."
Colin Fleming has also impressed in his rookie season and is currently leading the Rookie of the Year standings.
"Coming from go karts, I really like these technical tracks," said Fleming. "I have been learning a lot this year in Barber Dodge, and I'm just trying to put everything I'm learning to use. I had a good result in Toronto with the second place, and I'm just trying to build on that. The rookie of the year battle is very important to me, and so long as I keep getting points, I should be ok. I might have left a little on the table today, but its better to do that than to have a wrecked race car."
The race is scheduled to get underway at 10:15 a.m. PST. Full results and story to be posted at www.barberdodge.com.