Bomarito tops Martinez for provisional pole at Trois-Rivières
In provisional qualifying for Sunday’s Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières, Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda points leader Jonathan Bomarito managed to extend his lead in the championship and guarantee himself a front row starting spot by taking the provisional pole.
Bomarito posted a best lap at 59.875 seconds (91.451 mph) in the No. 26 Del Taco/Stone Brewing/Discount Tire/RLM Investments entry for Mathiasen Motorsports to lead the 30-minute qualifying session. He was the only driver to turn a lap quicker than one minute, and as a result, he will start from the front row for the fifth time this season. He is currently riding a streak of five straight top-six finishing positions—including victories at Edmonton and Road America—and now leads James Hinchcliffe by five points, 159-154.
“We definitely have some great momentum going right now,” Bomarito said. “We actually have quite a bit of work to do on the car overnight. I think we can go considerably quicker tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to that. It’s running good. The guys are really doing a good job. It’s flawless every session. To get that extra bonus point is huge, since it’s so close at the moment, and to guarantee myself a front-row for Sunday’s race is very important for where we’re at in the championship. I’m looking forward to it.”
Second on the provisional grid is Mexican racer David Martinez, who will make just his third Atlantic start of the season this weekend at Trois-Rivières. Martinez posted a best lap at 1:00.072 (91.151 mph) in the No. 7 Axtel/Tecate/Madisa machine for Forsythe/Pettit Racing. Martinez, who is filling-in for his injured countryman, David Garza, started 11th and finished seventh in both races of the Road America doubleheader last weekend in his first Atlantic races since 2006.
“First of all, I’d like to thank the team, and obviously the Garza family for giving me this second opportunity,” Martinez said. “It was a good start. I feel we have a pretty decent car. It was a pretty crazy qualifying for everybody. It was a lot of traffic and expected red flags. By the end, we kind of ran out of steam. Our tires were a bit off. I definitely think we have material to fight for the pole tomorrow, so we’ll try it.”
Martinez was joined in the top three by his Forsythe/Pettit Racing teammate, Hinchcliffe, in the No. 3 Indeck/Tire Rack/NOCO machine. Hinchcliffe logged a best lap at 1:00.072 (91.151 mph) and has started inside the top six in each of his last six Atlantic starts. He improved considerably from the morning practice session—in which he turned the 10th-quickest time—to third in the first round of qualifying.
“Obviously, for me it’s extra special being another race in Canada,” said Hinchcliffe. “It’s always great racing on your home soil and I’ve never been to the track here, but it’s certainly interesting. I know it was a staple event on the Atlantic calendar for many, many years, so I’m excited to get a chance to drive here. It’s a tricky circuit. I mean, it’s really, really busy. It’s really short, but it has a lot of turns in it, so you’re always doing something. It almost feels like you’re riding a bull or something. There’s no break. It’s exciting to be racing here. For us, the (qualifying) session went a lot better than practice this morning. We struggled with the car and we’ve improved it a lot. On one hand, I’m happy that we’re closer to the top now, but when you’re closer to the top, you want to be at the top, so it’s kind of bittersweet. If we can make this sort of jump tomorrow, I think both David (Martinez) and I will be competing for pole.”
Carl Skerlong, who was quickest in the opening practice session, was fourth in first-round qualifying at 1:00.142 (91.045 mph). He has started six of this season’s seven races from the top-four positions and is looking for his sixth top-five performance of the year in Sunday’s race. Skerlong is also looking for his first career victory in Atlantic competition.
Rookie Dane Cameron completed the top five in the No. 19 MAZDASPEED/Finlay Motorsports/Lynx Racing entry for Genoa Racing. Cameron turned in a best qualifying lap at 1:00.285 (90.829 mph). Cameron has previous experience on the quirky Trois-Rivières street circuit with a second-place run last year en route to his Star Mazda championship.
The top-11 qualifiers were covered by less than one second.
• Atlantic Championship officials announced today that No. 25 Uni-Select/Deans Knight/Wasteco driver Kevin Lacroix has been penalized five points due to unjustifiable risk for his actions in last weekend’s second race of a doubleheader at Road America. The Walker Racing driver from Saint-Eustache, Quebec qualified sixth in Friday’s provisional qualifying session at 1:00.407 (90.645 mph).
• Canadian Daniel Morad matched his best Atlantic qualifying performance to date with a seventh-place run in provisional qualifying at 1:00.477 (90.540 mph) in the No. 70 Metro Directories of Georgia/Grapeking entry for Eurointernational. Morad also started seventh for the second race of last weekend’s doubleheader at Road America.
• Driving for Montreal-based Jensen MotorSport, Finnish rookie Henri Karjalainen turned in his best Atlantic qualifying performance to date with a 12th-place run in the No. 2 GNLD machine. Karjalainen’s best lap was 1:00.901 (89.910 mph). The Finn’s best starting spot thus far was 15th at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May and also in the second race at Road America last weekend.
|| Jonathan Bomarito
|| David Martinez
|| James Hinchcliffe
|| Carl Skerlong
|| Dane Cameron (R)
|| Kevin Lacroix
|| Daniel Morad (R)
|| Junior Strous
||nathan Summerton (R)
||Simona De Silvestro
|| Tom Sutherland
||enri Karjalainen (R)
|| Markus Niemela (R)
|| Greg Mansell (R)
|| Frankie Muniz
||ominick Muermans (R)
|| Douglas Soares (R)
|| Leo Mansell (R)
|| Luis Schiavo (R)
|| Eric Jensen