NA 2000: Mont-Tremblant test day notes

Wilkins paces test day at Mont Tremblant Mark Wilkins set the quickest time with a 1:34.461-second lap in Thursday's promoter test day at Mont Tremblant in advance of round two of the 2004 North American Formula Renault 2000 ...

Wilkins paces test day at Mont Tremblant

Mark Wilkins set the quickest time with a 1:34.461-second lap in Thursday's promoter test day at Mont Tremblant in advance of round two of the 2004 North American Formula Renault 2000 Championship. Seventeen cars set times on the 2.65-mile Canadian circuit during the three sessions of the day, with the third session slowing the pace considerably as rain began to fall just minutes before the session started.

Wilkins, who hails from Toronto, stood atop the first two sessions of the day, and was followed both times by Eurointernational's Juan Ponte and Ricardo Imery. The seven quickest cars in the second session were all within one second of Wilkins best time, a testament to the competitive nature of the field.

"I have a really good car, and I have been looking forward to this race for some time," Wilkins said. "I really like these fast flowing tracks like Mosport and Watkins Glen, so this place suits my style."

Wilkins, who is enjoying the freedom of having recently completed his school exams, is joined this weekend by his father, Greg, who will be racing as well in Grand American competition. Mark teamed with his father in January to take third in class at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in just his first ever sports car race.

Tough Day

German Quiroga got his weekend off to a tough start, as he went off in the dauntingly quick first corner, and ended up flipping his car several time after going off-track. The young Mexican emerged safely from his car, but had to sit out the second session as his GTI Roshfrans crew worked to get his car ready for the track.

'I just carried too much speed in there, and got off track," said Quiroga as he surveyed the damage to his car. "I tried to get back on the track as I was sliding on the grass, but I think I went back to throttle too soon, and then the next thing I knew, I'd hit and gone over on my head.

Perfect Recovery

Antoine Bessette, who once raced rally cars, was one of the few drivers to take to the track in the last session of the day, which saw the track overcome with rain. Bessette ran several laps in the difficult conditions, and performed a perfect 360 degree spin at the exit of the final corner, right in front of the pits.

"I did that for you guys in the pits to see!" claimed the Montreal native.

Marcos Gomes was the quickest in the wet session, taking his GTI Roshfrans machine to the top of the charts with a 1:52.416-second lap of the track.

Strong Debut

New Zealand native Chris Pither took his first laps in a Formula Renault during the test day with Aim Autosport, and was both impressive and impressed, as he adapted quickly to the category despite never having driven a race car with wings before.

"It was a good day, and I really enjoyed both the car, and the track, it was a blast! It was a shame it was raining so hard for the last session-it was so wet you had to be brave to even get down the straights!"

Monaco/Mt Tremblant Connection

Eurointernational team owner Antonio Ferrari has his eyes on both, as he is running a dual-continent race program, with two cars competing this weekend in the North American Formula Renault Championship at Mont Tremblant, as well as one contesting the Formula Renault V6 Eurocup Championship, which is racing in Monaco this weekend. Ferrari had been anxiously awaiting news from the days running in the principality, and was grinning later in the day upon finding out that his driver, Roberto Mondini, had run second quickest in the practice sessions, with the qualifying taking place on Saturday.

Qualifying for round two of the North American Formula Renault 2000 Championship will get underway on Friday, with the race scheduled to get underway on Saturday.

The North American Formula Renault Championships are sanctioned by Grand American, and provide a ladder for drivers to develop their talent, with a full in-house open-wheel progression available.

The Formula Renault V6 Championship is the top rung on the North American Formula Renault Championship ladder, which also includes the North American Formula Renault 1600 Championship and the North American Formula Renault 2000 Championship. The Formula Renault V6 is expected to make its North American competition debut in the latter stages of the North American Formula Renault 2000 season.

-frenault na-

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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers German Quiroga , Antoine Bessette , Ricardo Imery , Mark Wilkins , Chris Pither , Marcos Gomes