Wilkins takes championship lead with Toronto pole Toronto, Ontario(10 July 04) Toronto's own Mark Wilkins scored the pole in qualifying for Sunday's North American Formula Renault race at the Molson Indy Toronto and earned five point bonus for...
Wilkins takes championship lead with Toronto pole
Toronto, Ontario(10 July 04) Toronto's own Mark Wilkins scored the pole in qualifying for Sunday's North American Formula Renault race at the Molson Indy Toronto and earned five point bonus for the feat, moving him to the top of the championship standings, one point ahead of Juan Martin Ponte. Wilkins best lap, a 1:12.040-second tour of the 1.755-mile temporary street circuit, was just .096 of a second quicker than Renato Jader David's best effort, and the two will line up alongside each other for Sunday's standing start.
The half-hour qualifying session was busy, with the pole position changing hands ten times during the session, as Wilkins made the closing moments count to clock his best lap with just minutes remaining.
"I am pretty excited to be starting from pole in my home race, and of course getting back on top of the championship is a great bonus!" said Wilkins. "I had a good car, and was running very consistent laps, so that's encouraging for tomorrow's race to know that my car is solid. Aim Autosport had a great strategy for the qualifying session to have me come in and cool the Michelins, and have a late-session run at the pole when the track was fastest."
Brazilian Marcos Gomes, who won the pole last month at Watkins Glen, will start from third position, with series newcomer Matt Jaskol continuing to make an impression, netting fourth on the grid in his Team Autotecnica machine. Juan Ponte will line up in the third row from fifth on the grid, and Ontario native Brandon Thomas will fly the Western Union colors from sixth.
Antoine Bessette never got a clean run in traffic, and will start in seventh alongside of Ricardo Imery, who also felt as though he hadn't been able to find clear running during the session. UK Formula Renault racer Katherine Legge will line up ninth in her first-ever street race, with star karter Matt Champagne rounding out the top ten on the grid.
The race is scheduled to start after the Champ Car Molson Indy Toronto race, with lights out taking place at 3:45 p.m. EST.
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 the2004 North American Formula Renault 2000 season.