(VANCOUVER, B.C.) Sept. 1, 2000 -Weather in the Pacific Northwest is a fickle friend. Sunny warmth can yield to cold and blustery within the blink of an eye. Such fickleness left the Barber Dodge Pro Series drivers preparing to qualify for ...
(VANCOUVER, B.C.) Sept. 1, 2000 -Weather in the Pacific Northwest is a fickle friend. Sunny warmth can yield to cold and blustery within the blink of an eye. Such fickleness left the Barber Dodge Pro Series drivers preparing to qualify for Saturday's round 9 race with little time to find their way. Moments before the Barber Dodge Reynards were set to leave the paddock, a sudden, but brief, rain shower dampened the Concord Pacific Place street circuit sufficiently for the slick Michelin Pilot SX tires to come off and the wet weather treaded version to come on. With almost a third of the 30-minute session gone, anxious drivers on a still largely unfamiliar circuit over extended themselves causing the session to be halted twice. The result was six laps completed by the top drivers and less than half of those were at speed. Thus Nilton Rossoni of Itatiba, Brazil captured the provisional pole followed by hometown favorite Michael Valiante and Pennsylvanian Matt Plumb.
Rossoni made hay while the brief sun shone to stop the clock on his sixth of six laps at 1:21.978 sec for an average speed of 78.211 mph around the temporary 1.781-mile city circuit. Seven-tenths of a second in arrears was Valiante.
"I really only did two laps. Before that the others were completed under the black flag. I didn't want to mess up the rain tires so I would always slow down," said Rossoni who drives the No. 36 Foster Group Reynard. "The last two laps, I really tried to push as hard as I could, and I made some mistakes so I did not think it was going to be good enough for pole. It wasn't an easy situation and we had to adapt without much time."
Valiante who has had a bit of a rough season was quick throughout the short session, marking his best qualifying performance since the opening round of the series at Sebring. The Sguerzoni/Italian Motors No. 95 Reynard of Valiante was lapping the circuit consistently among the top of the time sheets in both the qualifying and practice sessions, a fact that could hail a return to form for the 20-year old.
"Like Nilton, I didn't really get a clean lap in the session," recounted Valiante. "I'm happy to be here, especially in my hometown. The weather conditions here are very challenging. That puts a lot of pressure on the driver to put a clean lap together, and not make any mistakes."
A surprised Plumb took the provisional third spot on the grid. Like many of the drivers, the unpredictability of the session as well as the abbreviated track time left Plumb wondering what had happened. It was a particularly busy session for Plumb who was actually involved in the first stoppage. A spinning car in front of him had caused him to take evasive action and he ended up nosing the tire wall, requiring a new nose to be fitted to his CAM 2 Reynard. Valiante was almost involved in the incident as well as he was just behind the spinning car, but was able to avoid it, unlike the unfortunate Plumb. It also signaled a heightened mental toughness after the disappointment of the previous race where Plumb was left on the sidelines while battling for the lead.
"To be perfectly honest, I thought I was last at the end of the session. It was just a crapshoot to see who could get a clean lap," said Plumb. "I've been working on that first win for quite a while now, and at (the previous round) Road America I definitely felt like a I could have given Nilton a run for his money. It usually doesn't take me long to get back in the saddle, but that one really took the wind out of my sails, but that's racing. I'll be back."
Roger Yasukawa continues to drive strongly as he provisionally resides fourth on the grid with Andy Lally alongside in fifth. Championship leader Jon Fogarty lies sixth followed by Thed Bjork, Ryan Hunter-Reay, John McCaig, another Vancouver-ite, and Alexandre Sperafico rounds out the Top 10.
Final qualifying will take place Saturday morning at 8:15 a.m. with round 9 of the 12 round Barber Dodge Pro Series will take the green flag at 3:55 p.m. later that same afternoon.
<pre> Vancouver, B. C. , Canada
September 1, 2000
Car Best Laps Fastest Pos # Driver/Hometown Lap Comp Lap MPH 1 36 Nilton Rossoni/Curitiba, Brazil 6 6 01:21.978 78.211 2 95 Michael Valiante/Vancouver,Canada 6 6 01:22.600 77.622 3 17 Matt Plumb/Unionville, Penn. 5 6 01:22.772 77.461 4 9 Roger Yasukawa/Santa Monica, Calif. 5 5 01:23.177 77.084 5 62 Andy Lally/Northport, NY 6 6 01:23.375 76.901 6 52 Jon Fogarty/Portolo Valley, Calif. 5 5 01:23.962 76.363 7 11 Thed Björk/Vretstorp, Sweden 5 5 01:24.033 76.299 8 31 Ryan Hunter-Reay/Boca Raton, Fla. 5 6 01:24.177 76.168 9 55 John McCaig/Victoria, B.C., Canada 5 6 01:25.019 75.414 10 20 Alexandre Sperafico/Brazil 4 5 01:25.047 75.389 11 28 Andre Nicastro/Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 5 6 01:25.167 75.283 12 25 Kip Gulseth/Manitowoc, Wisc. 5 6 01:25.216 75.239 13 7 Jamie Menninga/Pella, Iowa 5 7 01:25.304 75.162 14 4 Brent Sherman/ North Barrington, Ill. 4 7 01:25.814 74.715 15 23 Marc Breuers/Gladwyne, Penn. 6 4 01:26.110 74.458 16 8 Peter Boss/Narragansett, R.I. 4 5 01:26.214 74.368 17 5 Sepp Koster/The Netherlands 5 6 01:26.660 73.986 18 53 Tom Fogarty/Soledad, Calif. 5 5 01:26.895 73.786 19 19 Sara Senske/Kennewick, Washington 5 5 01:27.349 73.402 20 21 Jon Vannini/Hillsborough, California 3 5 01:28.553 72.404 21 42 John Hall/Houston, Texas 4 6 01:28.855 72.158 22 77 Scott Mayer/Franklin, Wisc. 1 1 06:11.691 17.250