SBRS: Detroit qualifying report

(DETROIT, Mich.) June 16, 2001 -Thirteen minutes into final qualifying for the fifth round of the 2001 Barber Dodge Pro Series, American Matt Plumb secured his first career pole. A self-professed fan of street circuits, Plumb lapped the 2.346-mile...

(DETROIT, Mich.) June 16, 2001 -Thirteen minutes into final qualifying for the fifth round of the 2001 Barber Dodge Pro Series, American Matt Plumb secured his first career pole. A self-professed fan of street circuits, Plumb lapped the 2.346-mile Raceway on Belle Isle in 1:32.856 sec. averaging 90.954 mph. Plumb's only Pro Series victory came at last year at the Concord Pacific Place street circuit in Vancouver, B.C., and he's hoping that Detroit will be as kind. He finished second in Detroit in 2000. Second quickest was American Ryan Hunter-Reay who's weekend got off on a bad foot but was able to turn it around when it counted. Provisional polesitter Sepp Koster was unable to improve on his time set Friday but was able to hang onto the third quickest time nevertheless.

Plumb, one of the early season favorites had an unlucky start to the season as he was unable finish either of the first two rounds of the season. The tide began to turn at Lime Rock Park in round 3 as Plumb finished second, then finished sixth in round 4, also at Lime Rock.

"It's fantastic to see things turning around, and seeing myself get a little bit of luck" said Plumb, 25, driver of the No.4 Premier Nutrition Dodge Reynard. "I have to thank the entire Barber Dodge Pro Series organization for keeping me motivated and not letting me quit."

"(The key to winning here) for me is to get a little bit of space between myself and the rest of the field and not make any mistakes. I'm looking forward to a great race. I had a great one here last year," added Plumb.

Hunter-Reay, who leads the overall standings following a bountiful Lime Rock weekend, finished the day on Friday less than satisfied. A mechanical problem curtailed his running time in the first practice session and a switch to a back up car for the first qualifying session took some adjusting to. Today however the 20-year old Barber-CART Rookie of the Year driver was able to right everything. Fifth quickest in the morning, Hunter-Reay set the standard early in the session only to have it eclipsed by Plumb three minutes later. His time however stood the test of everyone else bar Plumb. Hunter-Reay's best tour of the circuit stopped the clocks in 1:32.856 sec.

"I have to start by thanking the entire Barber Dodge Pro Series, especially the mechanics who worked till midnight to get these cars sorted out. Because of them it's fantastic to be here," said Hunter-Reay a multi-time karting champion. "We found the right set-up for this session and I started laying down qualifying laps right away in case there were any stoppages."

Only Plumb had been a match for Koster on Friday, and it was to be his provisional time that earned him the inside of the second row. Koster a former Formula Ford Benelux Champion began the day getting up to speed again with his Sachs Dodge Reynard after the crew worked to repair the damage caused by his contact with the wall in the provisional qualifying. He quickly got his car back up to speed but the session didn't quite last long enough for him to improve his time.

"We began the session a little conservative, and probably made the decision to pit for set-up a little too early. That was unfortunate, but I feel that the car is very competitive," said Koster who's best lap was a 1:33.147 sec.

The session finished under a red flag that halted the action from the 16th minute of the 30-minute session. Sara Senske emerged unscathed after making contact with the wall. Repairs to the wall however prevented the session from finishing within the allotted time.

Brazilian Alex Sperafico will line up on the outside of row 2, while the third row of the grid will be comprised by Roger Yasukawa and Jon Morley. Rounding out the Top-10 are Akihira Okamoto, Nicolas Rondet, Christian Szymczak and Rafael Sperafico. It is notable that Morley, Szmczak and R. Sperafico are making their first start on a temporary street circuit.

Round 5 of the 2001 Barber Dodge Pro Series in support of the CART FedEx Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit will take the green flag, Sunday morning at 11:30 a.m. EDT.

- BARBER

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay , Roger Yasukawa , Rafael Sperafico , Sepp Koster , Alex Sperafico , Matt Plumb , Akihira Okamoto , Jon Morley