(Monterey, Calif.) November 17, 2001 - Californian Robbie Montinola used local knowledge to push aside all championship contenders at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca and capture his first ever Formula Dodge National Championship pole. Montinola set...
(Monterey, Calif.) November 17, 2001 - Californian Robbie Montinola used local knowledge to push aside all championship contenders at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca and capture his first ever Formula Dodge National Championship pole. Montinola set the standard for Round 10 with a best time of 1:39.563 sec., over .2 sec. faster than perennially strong qualifier A.J. Allmendinger. Previously, his best qualifying effort had been 13th at Indianapolis Raceway Park in Round 3. Allmendinger, one of four Barber-CART Karting Scholarship winners contesting the season, will also line up on the front row for the first time in FDNC play. Canadian Dan Di Leo overcame some technical difficulty to qualify third with championship leader Julio Campos and Landon Yee rounding out the top-5.
A month ago Montinola won his first race at Laguna Seca in Formula Dodge Western Regional action. Today, he calmly displayed his smooth driving style shocking his competitors but delighting the driver coaches who helped the young racer master the fast sweeping turns at the historic road course.
"Qualifying was great. I felt so comfortable driving on this, my home track," said Montinola after posting the pole on his 12th lap out of 16. "I'm looking forward to the race."
Allmendinger, a mark of consistency throughout the season, was delighted with his P2 qualifying position.
"I got faster as the session went on and I'm pleased to be starting on the front row at last" said Allmendinger.
Dan DiLeo, who had been fastest in the earlier practice session, was frustrated due to some equipment concerns. "I had a hectic session because my stopwatch malfunctioned so I didn't know my lap times, but I stayed with Landon [Yee] and Robbie [Montinola] and hoped they were quick."
The competitiveness of the series was illustrated in the time groupings. Only 0.5 sec separated the first seven qualifiers; one second covered the top 14 qualifiers.