Sepp Koster is the West Side Parking Pole Position Winner for Round 3 of the Barber Dodge Pro Series held this afternoon at Lime Rock Park. In addition to the one point awarded for fastest qualifying time, the Dutchman also receives a contingency...
Sepp Koster is the West Side Parking Pole Position Winner for Round 3 of the Barber Dodge Pro Series held this afternoon at Lime Rock Park. In addition to the one point awarded for fastest qualifying time, the Dutchman also receives a contingency award of $500 in cash from West Side Parking, of East Granby, Connecticut. The pole is Koster's first in 2001 and third in his Pro Series tenure. Koster will start ahead of current Barber-CART Rookie of the Year Ryan Hunter-Reay, who qualified second and Barber-CART Big Scholarship winner Rafael Sperafico, who qualifed in third.
With scattered rain showers and ominous clouds, few expected times to improve in the second session. Koster's earlier mark of 0:55.248 sec. was looking tough to beat. Instead, rain that appeared immenent was light in scale and eventually let up. The 1.54-mile circuit dried quicker than expected, allowing nine racers to eclipse Koster's provisional pole time.
No one was more surprised than Koster.
"It certainly looked like times wouldn't get better but once we got on track, I was really surprised to find a complete dry line. It took me awhile to string things together and figure out where the extra time was to be found but when I did I was able to better my times considerably." He continued, "I'm pretty pleased because qualifying position on this track is so important."
With forecasters calling for more rain, the Dutchman seemed undaunted at the prospect of racing in wet conditions.
"It's fun. It can be a concern when you're going out on pole. Conditions are tricky in terms of what's going behind you, for example, anyone surprised by spray or what have you. But it's definitely an advantage to be on pole when it rains. I'll have a clear line and good visibility."
Ryan Hunter-Reay, who set his best time late in the session was similarly pleased with the track conditions and his outing.
"We all thought it was going to be wet. But it was dry right away. I knew I had to get to work. I found some open track and started working at setting good times."
Round two winner Nicolas Rondet took provisional pole from Koster 12 minutes into the session. Koster took provisional pole back 17 minutes in and lowered the mark again on lap-18. R. Sperafico, eighth in the earlier qualifying session, got up to speed relatively late in the session to improve his qualifying time considerably by over one second.
R. Sperafico has had stellar success in qualifying this 2001 season.
"I enjoy qualifying very much. I try to be as deliberate as possible. I think my results show that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing."
The Brazilian seemed indifferent to the challenge of rain, despite never having raced in it."
"Rain doesn't really bother me. If it rains for me, it rains for everybody." added the Barber-CART Big Scholarship winner.
American Marc Breuers had an outstanding qualifying session and was parked in provisional second or third for most of it. Roger Yasukawa, who missed most of the morning practice session when his car spun and he had to sit out, turned in a fourth place qualifying result. Matt Plumb and Davy Cook both improved their earlier times. Cook turned in his quickest circuit on the last lap to qualify for round three in sixth.
- Andrew Torres