Honda Michelin Series Saturday notes

Bowmanville, Ontario (August 6, 2004) - Frédérick Lelièvre of Mont-Joli (QC) won his first-ever Honda / Michelin pole on Saturday, qualifying his Lamontagne Auto Honda Civic six thousandths of a second quicker than the Team Lombardi Honda of ...

Bowmanville, Ontario (August 6, 2004) - Frédérick Lelièvre of Mont-Joli (QC) won his first-ever Honda / Michelin pole on Saturday, qualifying his Lamontagne Auto Honda Civic six thousandths of a second quicker than the Team Lombardi Honda of Steven Laporte from St. Sauveur. Lelièvre bested the series track record by four tenths of a second with a lap time of 1 minute 46.238 seconds at an average speed of 134.088 km/h. Quickest in Friday practice, Laporte rounded the 3.957-kilometre Mosport International Raceway in 1:46.244 for a qualifying lap average of 134.080 km/h.

"This is my first-ever pole position in a race car, said Lelièvre who won several poles in karting, and once started on the outside of the front row of a Formula 1600 race in Trois-Rivières. "At the start of the session, I tried to stay four of five-car lengths behind a group of fast cars, but they were pulling away. At the halfway point, I finally caught up to them and got close enough to get a draft from one of the leading cars during one lap and I got pole. For the race, I think we should try to pull away from the rest of the cars, and then hash it out in the last four or five laps."

This will also be Laporte's first front-row start this season. "That is very close," said Laporte when he realized that only six thousandths separated him from pole. "The session went well. I was in a group of fast cars and I think we did our best times on the same lap. A few of us seem to be quicker than most others, so I guess we are going to have a talk before the race to insure that we don't battle at the start, but wait until we build a gap from the rest of the field."

Nick Wittmer of Hudson (QC) qualified his Ste-Rose Honda in third place with a lap time of 1:46,421.

He will share row two with the Énergie/ NAPA/RDS Honda Civic of Didier Schraenen of Mont Saint-Hilaire (QC) who lapped the track in 1:46.519.

"Third place is not a bad place to start a race," said Wittmer. "I pushed hard throughout the session, but I only got one clear lap. I was always in traffic and trying to pass slower cars that would not move out of the way. That situation slowed me down. As for the race, I will play it as I see it. If there is an opening at the start of the race, I will take it. If not, I will wait until later to make a move. I will not force the issue."

Kuno Wittmer, with a lap time of 1:46.651, will start on the inside of the third row next to the Oakville Honda of rookie Travis Walker. The Mississauga driver posted his quickest time near the end of the 30-minute session with a circuit in 1:47.040. Row four will be filled by Normand Boyer, a two-time winner this year at Mosport, and his younger brother Robert. Montrealer Denis Baillargeon was ninth quickest, and will start next to rookie Jamie Holtom of Ottawa.

In the revised provisional standings, Didier Schraenen is still the leader with 134 points, two more than Nick Wittmer. With the point he picked up today (Saturday) for his pole position, Frédérick Lelièvre moves into sole position of third place with 130 points, one more than Steven Laporte. For the race, the number three and four in the standings will start from the front row and the two points' leaders will face off in row two.It will be interesting to see how these battles turn out.

The green flag for Round 7 of 10 of the Honda / Michelin Challenge Series, a 16-lap race, will be given Sunday at 3:00 p.m.

-hms-

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Series Road racing
Drivers Didier Schraenen , Kuno Wittmer , Travis Walker , Nick Wittmer