MX-5: Utah final practice notes

Malkhassian Fastest in MX-5 Cup Practice at Utah TOOELE, Utah (Sept. 13, 2007) -- Ara Malkhassian's morning practice time at Miller Motorsports Park for Round Eight of the SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup, part of the ...

Malkhassian Fastest in MX-5 Cup Practice at Utah

TOOELE, Utah (Sept. 13, 2007) -- Ara Malkhassian's morning practice time at Miller Motorsports Park for Round Eight of the SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup, part of the Sunchaser 1000, was the fastest time of the day at the 4.486-mile track. Jesse Combs, of Woodlands, Texas, and Jason Saini, of Fort Worth, Texas, were second and third quick, respectively.

Registering a lap of 3:21.612 (80.102 mph) in the morning session, Malkhassian and his No. 11 Alara Racing MX-5 could not be topped in the second 30-minute practice session of the day.

"This is a great track," Malkhassian said. "What's difficult about it, is putting together a good lap, because it's 23 corners. It's a challenge being able to piece together a good lap and we're glad we were able to do that today in practice. Ken Murillo, our crew chief, is outstanding and I have to thank Red Line Oil for their support.

"We've been testing here quite a bit, trying to find different setups and I think we've found a good one. The car feels great and it'll be even better with new tires."

Malkhassian's teammate Combs would also retain his spot in second on the time sheets through the afternoon session. The No. 7 Coolgas Ltd./Alara Racing MX-5 driver turned a lap of 3:22.053 (79.699 mph) in the morning session.

Although he was able to pick up some time in the afternoon session, Saini didn't find enough to advance from the third spot. The newly crowned MX-5 Cup Champion improved to a 3:22.260 (79.845 mph) in his No. 28 Autobarn Mazda/SafeRacer.com MX-5.

Andrew Caddell, of Graham, Wash., who is currently battling Malkhassian for second in the Championship, was unable to improve on his morning time and retained the fourth spot. The No. 30 TeamMER/AimSport/Pinnacle Mazda MX-5 driver entered a 3:22.718 (79.665 mph).

Driving the No. 19 Hooverspeed MX-5, Bob Michaelian, of Seal Beach, Calif., found 0.1-second in the second session, maintaining his spot in fifth with a 3:23.327 (79.426 mph).

Matt Cross, Pratt Cole, Charles Espenalub, Simona De Silvestro and Tim Probert completed the top ten.

The afternoon session was stopped briefly for the No. 08 Patron Tequila Mazda MX-5 of Espenlaub who was disabled on course at Turn 22 with apparent electrical problems.

Qualifying for Round Eight of the MX-5 Cup will take place Friday at 11:00 a.m. (MDT). Living timing and lap notes are available at www.mx-5cup.com

-credit: scca pro racing

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About this article
Series SCCA
Drivers Pratt Cole , Ara Malkhassian , Ken Murillo , Bob Michaelian , Jason Saini , Andrew Caddell
Teams Alara Racing