2002 ASCAR Championship - Rounds 1 & 2 4th May 2002 Manning sets the pace after scintillating ASCAR qualifying. BAR F1 Test driver Darren Manning put his RAC Autowindscreen-sponsored ASCAR on pole position for the first round of the ASCAR...
2002 ASCAR Championship - Rounds 1 & 2
4th May 2002
Manning sets the pace after scintillating ASCAR qualifying.
BAR F1 Test driver Darren Manning put his RAC Autowindscreen-sponsored ASCAR on pole position for the first round of the ASCAR stock car series at Rockingham yesterday.
Manning beat off the challenge of former Champ Car star Nicolas Minassian, Stevie Hodgson and British Touring Car champion Jason Plato after a titanic battle during the one hour qualifying session. "It makes a change to drive a car with a permanent smile on your face," Manning said. "The car's still not 100 per cent but the race is going to be fantastic."
Less than half a second separated the top six places during the session for the Goodyear 100 at the 1.5-mile Rockingham banked oval today, with Frenchman Minassian getting to within eight thousandths of a second of Manning's time.
"It's all about which guy wants it most," said Minassian, who drives for Ray Mallock Ltd. "I'm really enjoying myself. ASCAR have done one hell of a good job to get this series up and running. I'm loving it."
Manning, who is test driver for the BAR Honda F1 team, topped the times on only his fourth lap during the first ten minutes of the session and while Frenchman Minassian, Plato and reigning ASCAR champion John Mickel piled on the pressure, the Harrogate man, who drives for the Bintcliffe Sport team, held on for the remaining 50 minutes.
Manning's team-mate Plato, who cracked his ribs during a two-seater ASCAR ride two weeks ago, proved that he is made of sterner stuff with a place on the second row of the grid.
Plato said: "In all honesty, the amount of fun I've had in this car today I don't care if I race in Touring Cars ever again. It's proper, proper fun. There's nothing like going through turn three at 175mph and keeping your foot in."
The Days of Thunder-style ASCAR curtain raiser at Rockingham starts at 12 noon tomorrow. <pre> ASCAR GOODYEAR 100 QUALIFYING TIMES
Ptn Name Time Diff 1 Darren Manning 35.430 2 Nicolas Minassian 35.438 0.008 3 Stevie Hodgson 35.703 0.273 4 Jason Plato 35.789 0.359 5 John Mickel 35.880 0.450 6 Roland Rehfeld 35.898 0.468 7 Colin White 35.918 0.488 8 Anthony Swan 35.928 0.498 9 Kelvin Burt 35.966 0.536 10 Phil Weaver 36.042 0.612 11 Paul Evans 36.317 0.887 12 Rob Speak 36.599 1.169 13 Mark Proctor 36.775 1.345 14 Lee O'Keefe 36.817 1.387 15 Toby Scheckter 37.139 1.709 16 John Steward 37.828 2.398 17 Darren Turner 39.455 4.025 18 Tom Guinchard 40.016 4.586 19 Pete Storm No Time
NOTE - No 48 Pete STORM had to sit out the qualifying session after hitting the wall in practice and will start at the back of the grid.