LAPORTE WINS HIS FIRST HONDA/MICHELIN SERIES SEASON POLE AT MOSPORT MOSPORT, September 3 2005. - Steven Laporte won the Honda/Michelin Challenge Series pole at Mosport International Raceway on Saturday. The Lombardi Honda Racing driver ...
LAPORTE WINS HIS FIRST HONDA/MICHELIN SERIES SEASON POLE AT MOSPORT
MOSPORT, September 3 2005. - Steven Laporte won the Honda/Michelin Challenge Series pole at Mosport International Raceway on Saturday. The Lombardi Honda Racing driver paced the 3.957-kilometre road course in 1 minute 42.509 at an average speed of 138.965 km/h for his first pole of the 2005 season. Laporte will share the front of Round Seven with Honda de Sigi AutoSport driver Kuno Wittmer who posted his best time in 1:42.551, only four hundredths of second off the pole.
''This is my favorite track and I feel comfortable here,'' remarked Laporte. ''Yesterday (Friday), we tested with the Ontario Touring Class and tried new handling set-ups for the Lombardi Hondas. It worked out fine and we got the pole today. The pole was worth a point and closed the gap to two to Nick (Wittmer who leads with 178). We will play it safe for the start of the race. If Kuno (Wittmer) wants to lead the first corner, I have no problem with that because I know and I can get back in front by drafting him on the back straight.''
This is exactly what Kuno Wittmer wants to do for the race: lead from the start. Kuno has won twice this year (Toronto and Montreal Molson Indys) while his brother Nick has won the F-1 race in Montreal and the Trois-Rivières Grand Prix.
''My race strategy is to lead from the first corner, pull away and never look back,'' said Kuno Wittmer, who is starting on the front row for the fourth consecutive race. ''I missed the pole because I didn't get a draft from a quicker car during the session. The top three cars are so close, it's unbelievable (only 0.164 seconds apart). I know I'm faster in the corners and that will be a factor during the race.''
Robert Boyer, Laporte's teammate, was third quickest with a lap time of 1:42.673. The Lombardi driver will share the second row with Frederick Lelièvre. Didier Schraenen and 2005 points leader, Nick Wittmer, will fill Row three. It will be a hard fought race as Schraenen and Laporte have each won a race at Mosport this season while the Wittmers are actually looking for their first Mosport podium. ''In Turn One, I was pushing too much and losing time,'' Boyer said. ''This was quite unusual because I'm usually good on that part of the track. After a while, I realized that with all the other series running different lines here this weekend that it had changed the track considerably. By that time, nobody was improving so, I am quite satisfied with third place. The win will go to the driver who runs the smartest race tomorrow, not necessarily the quickest one at the start.''
Ryan Kelly of London (ON) finished seventh ahead of Emmanuel Boivin-Moreau of Longueuil (QC). They will start from row four ahead of a pair of Ottawa region rookies, Tyler Givogue and Philip Major.
Honda/Michelin Series drivers will be back on track Sunday for the 18-lap or 30-minute race scheduled to start at 1:05 p.m.
In the points standing, Nick Wittmer is first with 178 points, but his lead is now only 2 points over Laporte. Kuno Wittmer is third with 172 points, followed by Schraenen with 166. Alex Penfold is fifth with 157, ahead of Lelièvre with 149 and Boyer with 134 points.