MX-5: Series VIR Saturday practice notes

Malkhassian Tops Saturday Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Practice at VIR DANVILLE, Va. (April 24, 2010) -- Ara Malkhassian, of Houston, Texas, topped Saturday afternoon's SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup practice at Virginia International Raceway,...

Malkhassian Tops Saturday Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Practice at VIR

DANVILLE, Va. (April 24, 2010) -- Ara Malkhassian, of Houston, Texas, topped Saturday afternoon's SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup practice at Virginia International Raceway, part of the Bosch Engineering 250 weekend.

Malkhassian, the series leader in career top-10 finishes, drove his No. 11 ALARA Racing/Bulldog Productions Mazda MX-5 to a fast time of 2:14.390 (87.596 mph) around the 17-turn, 3.27-mile circuit.

The lap was 0.764-second faster than ALARA Racing teammate Lyonel Kent and nearly a second faster than Malkhassian's time from yesterday, but not as quick as the lap of 2:14.026 (87.833 mph) turned by Mat Pombo in the No. 01 PFM Pombo Racing/Range of Motion ATL/Carbotech during Friday's practice.

Malkhassian's pace quickened throughout the session, posting his best time on his final flying lap of the session as the checkered flag flew.

"We never got a clean lap yesterday, but we were looking pretty strong from the beginning in the Bulldog Productions car," Malkhassian said. "The sheets didn't show our potential, I don't think. We're coming towards qualifying with a head of steam and we're feeling good about it.

"The conditions were getting a little bit rough by the end of the session. Ken Murillo, our crew chief, called it right and the car just got faster and faster."

Kent, of Knoxville, Tenn., turned a best time of 2:15.344 in his No. 13 ALARA Racing/Bulldog Productions Mazda MX-5. Kent won the MX-5 Cup season finale at VIR a season ago, and is looking for a repeat on Sunday.

"The team worked hard on the car all day," Kent said. "It's been on and off the scales constantly. Ara and I worked on our lines, and we always work well together. Last year, we were probably the most solid team as far as working together, and that's what it takes in this series. I'm feeling really good about tomorrow."

Pombo, of Atlanta, Ga., was third quickest Saturday afternoon with a lap of 2:15.300 (87.006 mph). He was followed for the second straight day by Brad Rampelberg, of San Jose, Calif., in the No. 4 AMG Racing/Mazda/Cobalt Brakes Mazda MX-5 with a time of 2:15.323 (86.991 mph).

Powell, Ohio's Nick Evans completed the top-five on Saturday with a time of 2:15.439 (86.917 mph) in the No. 28 Team MER/Mazda/Sparco Mazda MX-5.

In the combined practice times, Pombo led Malkhassian, followed by Rampelberg and Michael Cooper, of Syossett, N.Y., in the No. 84 AMG Racing/Bromante Landscaping & Design Mazda MX-5, who was 10 in Saturday's session. Kent was fifth on the overall chart.

The SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup qualifies on Sunday morning at 8:45 a.m. (EDT) to set the grid for the 2:45 p.m. race. To follow each session's notes and timing, please visit www.mx-5cup.com.

Follow the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup on Twitter @ MazdaMX5Cup.

-source: scca pro racing

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About this article
Series SCCA
Drivers Nick Evans , Brad Rampelberg , Ara Malkhassian , Ken Murillo , Michael Cooper , Lyonel Kent , Mat Pombo