Pombo Leads Opening Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Practice at VIR ALTON, Va. (April 23, 2010) -- Mat Pombo, of Atlanta, Ga., was quickest in the opening SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup practice of the 2010 season at VIRginia International...
Pombo Leads Opening Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Practice at VIR
ALTON, Va. (April 23, 2010) -- Mat Pombo, of Atlanta, Ga., was quickest in the opening SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup practice of the 2010 season at VIRginia International Raceway, part of the Bosch Engineering 250 Weekend.
Pombo got progressively faster through the first half of the 30-minute session, turning his fast time of 2:14.026 (87.834 mph) on lap nine of 11 he turned in the session. Pombo's No. 01 PFM PomboRacing/RangeofMotionATL/Carbotech Mazda MX-5 topped runner-up Brad Rampelberg, of San Jose, Calif., by 0.365-second.
"I'm feeling kind of lucky that the first event is at a Southeast track, and that's a little bit of an advantage for us," Pombo said. "The PFM Pombo racing guys have done an awesome job, we just bought the cars three months ago. We're still sorting them, but it's always good to come out of the box and be right where you need to be.
"Consistency is what we're after. One fast lap doesn't mean anything in the grand scheme of things, because we want to be fast at the end. This is a competitive series, Mazda has done a great job making sure the cars are very even. All of these guys can put down a fast lap, but the consistency is going to separate everyone as the race goes on. "
Rampelberg, driving the No. 4 AMG Racing/Mazda/Cobalt Brakes Mazda MX-5, turned a fast time of 2:14.391 (87.595 mph) on his fourth lap of the session. Rampelberg's session ended early with an off-course excursion and spin.
"The AMG car was really good that session, we're really dialed in," Rampelberg said. "I have to thank [defending MX-5 Cup champion] Todd Lamb and Jason Hoover for the help in setting the car up. Mat Pombo has been really quick all weekend and we're worried about him.
"We had a little four wheel off during the session. We need to clean the grass off of the grill, get it on the scales and make sure its aligned right, and we should be good to go for the weekend."
Mike Cooper, of Syossett, N.Y., was third, with a lap 2:14.908 (87.259 mph) in the No. 84 AMG Racing/Bromante Landscaping & Design Mazda MX-5. Cooper was also less than a second off the pace of Pombo.
2008 MAZDASPEED Driver Development Ladder Shootout winner and 2009 Series runner-up, Justin Piscitell, was fourth in the session with a lap of 2:15.179 (87.085 mph). Piscitell, of Weston, Conn., is driving the No. 89 Team MER/DAMG Worldwide Mazda MX-5.
Houston's Ara Malkhassian, the Series' all-time leader in top-10 finishes, completed the top-five with a lap of 2:15.205 (87.068 mph) in the No. 11 ALARA Racing/Bulldog Productions Mazda MX-5.
The SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup returns to practice on Saturday afternoon at 6 p.m. (EDT) in preparation for Sunday's race. To follow each session's notes and timing, please visit www.mx-5cup.com.
-source: scca pro racing