Perera stays hot, tops opening practice
Franck Perera (#11 CJ Motorsport/Continental Cartage Inc.) picked up where he left off in the opening practice session for this weekend's Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton doubleheader.
The French rookie--who has won each of the last two Atlantic events--posted the quickest time of the lone practice session prior to this afternoon's qualifying session at 1:07.228 (105.652 mph). Both of Perera's victories came in Canada and he is looking for the Canadian sweep in this weekend's doubleheader. The Condor Motorsports driver is also looking to reduce a 30-point deficit to leader Raphael Matos (#6 ProWorks) in the championship standings.
"It was good," Perera said. "For another time, it's a new track for me. It's a tough track. For sure this weekend is a tough weekend. You have two races and both qualifying is important for both races, so it's going to be tough. Now, the fight with Matos is really close. We got back in the points with the victories and everything. Condor is doing a great job. We showed again that we're getting really, really better.
"Again, with a new track, after five minutes I was already leading the session. I did a lot of laps. I tried to do a race lap, and it was good. We had a really good gap. The car is really good for all the parts of the race. It's good to be first, and especially to see the difference with Sierra Sierra (Matos was 11th in the session and James Hinchcliffe was 16th). They are not really fast for now, but for sure in qualifying, they will be better, of course. It's good for Condor."
Second-quickest was Jonathan Bomarito (#23 Miracle Sealants/Konica Minolta/Dynacor) with a lap at 1:07.530 (105.180 mph) for PR1 Motorsports. Bomarito is looking for his first victory of the season this weekend and is teamed with Edmonton native Mike Forest (#32 Konica Minolta/Miracle Sealants/Dynacor/Earthwater). Bomarito is looking to rebound from a disappointing race in Toronto two weeks ago where he led the opening laps before crashing in the rain.
"The car was good, but there's still more to go," Bomarito said. "I'm having fun this weekend and it's hard not to. It's a beautiful day in Edmonton. I love the track. It's very physical, though."
Toronto's Robert Wickens (#3 Red Bull/INDECK) was scored third in the session but posted an identical lap time to Bomarito at 1:07.530 (105.180 mph). Like Bomarito, Wickens is looking to rebound from a disappointing run in his hometown with a spin on the second-to-last lap while running third. He is looking for his second victory of the season.
"It's nice to be out front in the first practice again," Wickens said. "In Toronto, we had a bad first session and ended up getting caught up in an accident, but I feel like I couldn't have done anything to avoid it. It was great just to rebound. The team deserves it. This is the result we should have had all weekend in Toronto, but it's good to be able to be back up in the top three."
Alan Sciuto (#20 WS Deans) was fourth at 1:07.625 (105.032 mph), and John Edwards (#7 Red Bull/INDECK) made it two Red Bull Team Forsythe cars in the top five with a lap at 1:07.688 (104.934 mph). The top 14 cars turned laps within less than a second of Perera's quickest time.
Pos Driver Lap Time Behind
1 Franck Perera 1:07.228 0.000
2 Jonathan Bomarito 1:07.530 0.302
3 Robert Wickens 1:07.530 0.302
4 Alan Sciuto 1:07.625 0.397
5 John Edwards 1:07.688 0.460
6 Ryan Lewis 1:07.735 0.507
7 David Garza 1:07.748 0.520
8 Carl Skerlong 1:07.826 0.598
9 Adrian Carrio 1:07.834 0.606
10 Kevin Lacroix 1:07.861 0.633
11 Raphael Matos 1:07.868 0.640
12 Giacomo Ricci 1:08.080 0.852
13 J.R. Hildebrand 1:08.098 0.870
14 Simona De Silvestro 1:08.144 0.916
15 Richard Heistand 1:08.231 1.003
16 James Hinchcliffe 1:08.379 1.151
17 Matt Lee 1:08.387 1.159
18 Justin Sofio 1:08.619 1.391
19 Tom Sutherland 1:08.787 1.559
20 Mike Forest 1:08.952 1.724
21 Junior Strous 1:09.005 1.777
22 Adrien Herberts 1:09.428 2.200
23 Frankie Muniz 1:09.892 2.664
24 Brian Thienes 1:11.087 3.859