NA-F2000: Watkins Glen Qualifying

BESNARD TAKES FOURTH-STRAIGHT F2000 POLE, CANADIANS SECOND AND THIRD WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Point leader David Besnard overcame a devastating testing crash Thursday to capture the pole for today's U.S. F2000 National Championship race,...


WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Point leader David Besnard overcame a devastating testing crash Thursday to capture the pole for today's U.S. F2000 National Championship race, part of the Parts America 150 Weekend at Watkins Glen International. Canadian's Marc-Antoine Camirand and Anthony Simone rounded out the top-three.

Besnard, of Sydney, Australia, worked with his crew on the No. 13 Primus Racing Karts Van Diemen Ford until the wee hours of Friday morning to repair the car, which was seriously damaged after an encounter with the Inner Loop wall during Thursday's open test day. Prior to the accident, Besnard had already missed much of the day due to gearbox problems.

"The team, including myself, was here until 1:00 in the morning making repairs on the car," said Besnard, whose lap of 1:15.149 (117.366 mph) was still well shy of Zak Morioka's 1997 qualifying mark of 1:14.688. "I've only had 15-20 laps on this track prior to qualifying, and really have to thank my teammate (Sam Hornish Jr.) for the setup information. I think we can still go faster, and the strategy for the race is just to get away at the start and go for it."

Besnard's pole was his fourth-straight in 1998. Newly-crowned Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Steve Knapp holds the record for consecutive F2000 poles, with seven in 1996.

Qualifying second for the third-consecutive race was rookie Camirand, of St. Leonard D'Aston, Quebec, Can. Camirand, driving the No. 96 Key Tours Van Diemen Ford, launched past Hornish Jr. with a last lap of 1:15.599 (116.668 mph) to take the outside pole.

Simone, of Stouffville, Ontario, Can., also jumped past Hornish Jr. into third. Turning a best lap of 1:15.620 (116.635 mph), Simone confirmed that the team's switch from the new, undeveloped Bowman chassis to a well-sorted 1997 Van Diemen was a wise one.

"I'm so much happier with the 1997 Van Diemen Ford," said Simone. "We were beginning to wonder if our problems before were all me – but now we know it's just that the car is too new. I think that with some minor adjustments, the 1997 car, which Sam Hornish Jr. drove through Disney and Phoenix this year, can be very competitive for the remainder of the season."

After dominating testing on Thursday, Hornish Jr., of Defiance, Ohio, will start fourth, followed by Homestead race winner Robby McGehee, of St. Louis.

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- Starters for today's 20-lap, 49.0-mile U.S. F2000 National Championship Round Five race, part of the Parts America 150 Weekend at Watkins Glen International, with starting position, car number in parenthesis, driver, hometown, class, car, time and speed in miles-per-hour. 1. (13), David Besnard, Sydney, Australia, F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 1:15.149, 117.366. 2. (96), Marc-Antoine Camirand, St.Lnrd.D'Aston, Que., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 1:15.599, 116.668. 3. (95), Anthony Simone, Stouffville, Ont., Can., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 1:15.620, 116.635. 4. (7), Sam Hornish Jr., Defiance, Ohio, F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 1:15.674, 116.552. 5. (2), Robby McGehee, St. Louis, Mo., F2A, Tatuus Ford, 1:15.752, 116.432. 6. (5), Andy Lally, Northport, N.Y., F2A, Bowman BC5 Ford, 1:15.902, 116.202. 7. (8), Mike Johnson, Gainsville, Ga., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 1:15.999, 116.054. 8. (77), Jon Herb, Indianapolis, Ind., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 1:16.009, 116.038. 9. (28), Jonathan Bottoms, Buffalo, N.Y., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 1:16.254, 115.666. 10. (88), Ryan Hampton, Glendora, Calif., F2A, Tatuus Ford, 1:16.293, 115.606. 11. (71), Michael Durand, Wayland, Mass., F2B, Van Diemen Ford, 1:16.531, 115.247. 12. (52), Bobby Oergel, Palmetto, Fla., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 1:16.561, 115.202. 13. (51), Greg LeMond, Medina, Minn., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 1:16.629, 115.1. 14. (78), Ryan Walker, Okemos, Mich., F2A, Tatuus Ford, 1:16.734, 114.942. 15. (25), Christian Coggins, Atlanta, Ga., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 1:16.778, 114.876. 16. (15), Ric Rushton, Santa Fe, N.M., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 1:16.938, 114.637. 17. (18), George Forgeois, New York, N.Y., F2B, Van Diemen Ford, 1:17.001, 114.544. 18. (24), Ryan Jones, Honeoye Falls, N.Y., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 1:17.065, 114.448. 19. (34), Tim Duit, Edmond, Okla., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 1:17.160, 114.307. 20. (6), Joey Scarallo, Hauppauge, N.Y., F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 1:17.198, 114.251. 21. (64), Rolando Quintanilla, Nuevo Larado, Mexico, F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 1:17.257, 114.164. 22. (22), James Yott, Montreal, F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 1:17.368, 114.000. 23. (75), Guy Cosmo, Bohemia, N.Y., F2B, Van Diemen Ford, 1:17.539, 113.749. 24. (33), Jeff Smith, Terre Haute, Ind., F2A, Tatuus Ford, 1:17.715, 113.491. 25. (11), Steve Rikert, Rhinebeck, N.Y., F2A, Tatuus Ford, 1:17.925, 113.185. 26. (26), Mike Williams, Hayden Lake, Idaho, F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 1:18.050, 113.004. 27. (30), Alejandro Garcia, Venezuela, F2A, Van Diemen Ford, 1:18.111, 112.916. 28. (66), Larry Oberto, Seattle, F2B, Van Diemen Ford, 1:18.316, 112.620. 29. (49), Howie Liebengood, Vienna, Va., F2B, Van Diemen Ford, 1:18.349, 112.573. 30. (90), Bob Wright, Old Chatham, N.Y., F2B, Van Diemen Ford, 1:18.633, 112.166. 31. (9), Dana LaLiberte, Ann Arbor, Mich., F2B, Van Diemen Ford, 1:19.016, 111.623. 32. (23), Dean Oppermann, Pottstown, Pa., F2B, Van Diemen Ford, 1:19.262, 111.276. 33. (17), Robert Lisey, Wadsworth, Ohio, F2B, Van Diemen Ford, 1:21.498, 108.223. 34. (55), Wilmer Valentin, Bayamon, Puerto Rico, F2B, Van Diemen Ford, 1:22.677, 106.680. 35. (4), Duncan Dayton, North Salem, N.Y., F2A, Bowman BC5 Ford, no time.

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Series Other open wheel
Drivers Duncan Dayton , Robby McGehee , Jon Herb , Marc-Antoine Camirand , Guy Cosmo , Rolando Quintanilla , Andy Lally , Steve Knapp , David Besnard , Michael Durand , Ryan Hampton , Larry Oberto , Mike Johnson , Howie Liebengood , Anthony Simone , Jeff Smith , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Williams