Championship leader Said collects first pole of season for Trans-Am event at Trois-Rivieres. TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec (August 3, 2002) -- Boris Said, who has been dominant on race day throughout the 2002 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires...
Championship leader Said collects first pole of season for Trans-Am event at Trois-Rivieres.
TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec (August 3, 2002) -- Boris Said, who has been dominant on race day throughout the 2002 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup championship season, extended his dominance to Saturday's qualifying session when he captured the pole for Sunday's Trans-Am event at Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres (2:30 p.m. ET, live, SPEED Channel).
Said (#33 Applied Computer Solutions Panoz Esperante), who entered this weekend's seventh round of the championship with series-high totals of three race victories and six podium finishes, captured his first pole of the current campaign when he recorded a lap of 84.934 miles per hour (1 minute, 4.469 seconds) on the 1.521-mile temporary street circuit. It was the sixth pole of Said's Trans-Am career and his first since the 2001 season opener at Sebring.
Equally important, Said earned two championship points and the Jaguar Pole Award for his effort. The two points improve his championship-leading total to 180, 27 more than three-time and defending Trans-Am Series champion Paul Gentilozzi (#3 Johnson Controls/ Microchip/ MatrixOne/Futaba Jaguar XKR), who stands second with 153 points. Gentilozzi qualified fourth on Saturday.
"Qualifying hasn't really been a priority for us this season," Said commented afterwards. "We're always thinking about the race. We don't like to put too many laps on our tires before the race [Trans-Am Series rules state that all cars must begin a race on the same tires on which they qualified].
"But today, the Applied Computer Solutions Panoz Esperante was just terrific," Said continued. "We ran two timed laps and parked it, and our time held up. It should be a great race tomorrow. I can't wait to get started."
Rookie Butch Leitzinger will start on the outside pole position after a lap of 84.674 mph (1:04.667). Leitzinger (#88 Tommy Bahama/Tom Gloy Chevrolet Corvette), who owns a series-high four poles this season, including the past three in a row, has qualified third or better for every start during his rookie season, and his average starting position of 1.57 is the best in the series.
"We didn't have it for Boris today," Leitzinger said. "Boris has pretty much been on top of the sheets all weekend and we've been chasing him. We've made some progress, but he's made some, too.
"We've got a lot more work to do tonight if we're going to be ready for tomorrow," Leitzinger summed up.
Leitzinger earned a championship point for the outside pole, giving him 152 for the season and bringing him within one of Gentilozzi for second place in the championship. Leitzinger will be seeking his fifth consecutive podium finish when the green flag falls Sunday.
Stu Hayner (#02 Trenton Forging/Tom Bell Chevrolet Corvette) qualified third for his best start since winning the pole for Round 3 at Lime Rock. He posted a top speed of 84.454 mph (1:04.835) and also earned a championship point, giving him 114 and tying him with Tony Ave (#53 Trilithic Panoz Esperante) for fifth place in the championship standings.
"When I got here yesterday, I was confused as all get-out," Hayner recalled. "I tried to judge and analyze the various bumps, and I found that it was just best to drive the same way I would normally.
"Right now, we're fighting a bit of a braking problem," Hayner added, "but once we get that straightened out, we should be OK. Having said all that, I love this track, and it's wonderful to see so many fans come out and offer so much support."
Gentilozzi was fourth at 84.134 mph (1:05.082), followed by Michael Lewis (#12 AmeriSuites Jaguar XKR), who rounded out the top five at 83.615 mph (1:05.486). Gentilozzi recorded 105th top-five start of his Trans-Am career, a series record, while Lewis earned his third top-five start in the past four events.
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