VANCOUVER, B.C., Columbia, Canada (Sept. 2, 2000) - Felipe Giaffone (Hollywood Lola) won his second Dayton Indy Lights Championship pole in the last four races Saturday in final qualifying for Sunday's race at the Molson Indy Vancouver. After...
VANCOUVER, B.C., Columbia, Canada (Sept. 2, 2000) - Felipe Giaffone (Hollywood Lola) won his second Dayton Indy Lights Championship pole in the last four races Saturday in final qualifying for Sunday's race at the Molson Indy Vancouver.
After quietly recording the sixth fastest time in Friday's provisional qualifying round, Giaffone broke the day-old track record set by Scott Dixon (Invensys/Powerware/PacWest Lights Lola) Saturday to win the fourth pole of his Indy Lights career and his second this season. Giaffone was also on the pole for The Detroit News 100 at Michigan Speedway in July where he went on to score his first victory.
Giaffone broke Dixon's day-old record of 93.332 mph (68.697 seconds) set on Friday with a 95.040 mph (67.462 seconds) lap on Saturday. The pole is his first on a road or street circuit since his first career top-qualifying effort at Long Beach in 1999.
"I think my car has been good throughout the weekend because I was just 8/100's behind (Scott) Dixon," Giaffone said. "I knew we had to make some changes to go for the pole. The cold weather really made getting the tires warmed up tough. It would take four or five laps to go for the fastest lap. This track configuration is better than when I was here last in '98 so it is going to make the race better for everybody. If you look at the times, they are all pretty close so it is going to make it tough to pass here unless somebody makes a mistake or is just faster than the other car."
Dixon was as low as seventh in the field in the final minutes of qualifying but rallied to post the second fastest lap on his 19th and final lap of the session. He will make his third front-row start of the year.
"I would have liked to grab my second pole of the year, but I'm definitely happy to be starting on the front row," Dixon said. "We got caught out in a little traffic with about one minute left in the session, but I was able to better my time on the last lap. My car is pretty good, but we still need to find more front grip for the low speed turns. Hopefully the weather will cooperate tomorrow and I can fight past. We definitely have more left in the car for the race."
American rookie Jeff Simmons (KOOL Lola) rebounded from a crash in the morning practice session to grab the third grid position. Simmons was second fastest after Friday's first round of qualifying, but did well to score the top-three showing after the accident.
"We didn't make any changes for qualifying after the accident in practice this morning," Simmons said. "We went out and the car is pretty good but it was not perfect, but it was good enough where we did not want to waste to time on making changes. I knew we were going to have trouble getting clean laps out there. The accident this morning, I'm not really sure what happened. We had been fighting an understeer in that corner all weekend. We stopped and made a change and I'm not sure, but while I was sitting in the pits it started to rain a little and it got wet over there and I just lost it on the entry. It really took me by surprise. The Team KOOL Green team really did a great job getting the car back together. They basically finished it up right as everybody was rolling their cars out into the pit lane."
Simmons' teammate Jonny Kane (KOOL Lola) qualified fourth while Townsend Bell (DirecPC Lola) was the top Dorricott Racing driver for the second-straight day. Bell qualified fifth.
"I'm disappointed. We didn't maximize our second set of sticker tires. We were able to run quick, competitive times within a tenth of a second off the pole time but we couldn't sustain or improve on those laps. I got caught in traffic right when the tires were at their peak point. At least I know I have a race-ready car that can run as fast as any car in the field but I'd like to be starting a little higher on the grid. This isn't a good race circuit if you have to pass cars to move through the field."
Bell's teammates Jason Bright (Dorricott Racing Lola) and Casey Mears (Dorricott Racing/Sooner Trailer Lola) qualified ninth and 12th, respectively.
Mario Dominguez (Herdez/Pegaso/Quaker State Lola), who was third fastest in Friday's first round, wound up sixth on the grid for Sunday's race.
The Vancouver Dayton Indy Lights race will be telecast Sunday in same-day coverage on ESPN2 at 3 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT).