Double Top-Ten in Qualifying for Michael Shank Racing in Montreal (Montreal, Que) 28 August 2009- Mark Patterson used the closing seconds of qualifying on the Circuit Gilles Villenueve to post his fastest lap (1:33.976 seconds) of the session...
Double Top-Ten in Qualifying for Michael Shank Racing in Montreal
(Montreal, Que) 28 August 2009- Mark Patterson used the closing seconds of qualifying on the Circuit Gilles Villenueve to post his fastest lap (1:33.976 seconds) of the session and secure seventh on the grid for Saturday's Montreal 200 with the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley. The South African native will share the driving duties in Saturday's two-hour Rolex Sports Car Series sprint race with Oswaldo Negri on the 2.71-mile circuit for round ten of the 2009 championship.
John Pew also had a good day at the track as his time of 1:35.160-seconds made for a double-top ten for the team as he secured ninth on the grid in the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley that he will share with Canadian Michael Valiante.
Patterson led the Truman Award practice session that preceded qualifying, pitting halfway through the session to save the car for qualifying. The effort paid off with a quick round of opening fast laps, which saw the No. 60 atop the charts as the times tumbled early in the session.
A black flag period late in the session saw a frantic three-minute dash to the checkered flag, with Patterson being the only driver able to improve his time in the last lap despite not having the car and tires up to ultimate temperature.
"I really had to hang it out there," said Patterson after receiving the congratulations of the team. "The car was very good. It really 'sat down' in the corners and had great power-down. I was happy with the car in the Trueman session, so just saved it for qualifying when we had the car with low fuel and new tires. It worked out perfectly. It was quite something to hear I was P1 on the radio and I'd of course loved to held on to that to the end of the session! But this is still a very good place for us to be starting and John did a great job as well so it was a good team effort today. "
Pew was also pleased with his times as he and Valiante continued to collaborate to find the best set-up for the No. 6 machine, which was initially a handful through the corners. With widespread showers expected for the race on Saturday, however, the team is hoping that the work done to find the ideal set-up doesn't go out the window with the weather.
"At least getting up in to the top ten will help us as far as visibility tomorrow if it rains," said Pew. "That can be the biggest challenge rather than any problem with getting the power down or through the corners. We made a lot of progress with the car through the day and I'm pretty happy to be where we are so far, but hopefully we can put this set up to use tomorrow. We'll see what happens with the rain, though-this team has a knack for coming up with a good set up no matter what the conditions are."
The Montreal weekend is one that the team is looking to use as a springboard for a strong end-of -season charge from both team entries as the No. 6 fights from fourth in the championship standings, with the No. 60 looking to move up from tenth with three rounds of racing remaining.
"This was a good first day for us," said team owner Mike Shank as his cars were once again among the fastest through several of the earlier practice sessions on the day. "John was really solid in qualifying, and Mark did some magic out there to be the only guy to be faster after everyone sat there through the black flag. But we will see what happens with the weather-we just have to be prepared for it even though with two cars that have been fast here in the dry, obviously we'd like to put that advantage to use. But we'll just have to be ready to race either way."