Summerton quickest at Trois Rivières
After two Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda practice sessions on Friday at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières, Jonathan Summerton continued his recent run of success by finding his way to the top of the time charts.
Driving the No. 34 Nuclear Clean Air Energy/Entergy/NEI machine for Newman Wachs Racing, Summerton posted a best lap at 59.793 seconds (91.516 mph) to lead the session by a scant three thousandths of a second over Simona De Silvestro. Summerton started from the pole position and won the race last weekend at Mid-Ohio and is looking for more of the same this weekend.
“We did a lot of testing,” said Summerton following practice. “That’s all I can say there. Lap times, I’m sure, weren’t reflective of what we could have done. It was a lot of in-and-out testing stuff. At least we’ve learned a lot for the other sessions. I’m excited about tomorrow’s practice and qualifying.”
After leading the day’s first practice session, De Silvestro narrowly missed topping the charts again with a lap at 59.796 sec. (91.511 mph) in the No. 78 Stargate Worlds/Maakoa/Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment/FireSky/Cardinal Technologies entry from Team Stargate Worlds. The series points leader heads into Sunday’s race looking for her eighth consecutive Atlantic podium and her fourth victory of the season.
“In this session, we did a few changes and I think we worked a little bit in the wrong direction,” De Silvestro said. “We have a good base for tomorrow and we figured out what wasn’t really working. It’s really close to P1, so we’ll see how it goes tomorrow. Tomorrow in qualifying, it’s important. Right now, we’re just kind of figuring stuff out to make the car better. I think we went a little in the wrong direction, but I’m sure we’re going to find out way back again.”
Making it two Newman Wachs Racing cars inside the top three was John Edwards in the No. 36 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development/Nuclear Clean Air Energy/NEI/Entergy car at 59.836 seconds (91.450 mph). Edwards currently trails De Silvestro by 16 points in the championship standings, 135-116, and is looking to erase a disappointing outing at Mid-Ohio last time out where he qualified second but did not finish the race.
“Times were very close, I think, closer than this morning, and I think it’s probably going to stay that way,” said Edwards. “We’re all just looking for the last few hundredths (of a second). Simona got there quicker in this session, but we were still playing with the cars, I think, and she didn’t go quicker at the end when Jonathan and I did. I think we’re looking like we’re in good shape, but again, it’s just like Mid-Ohio. I don’t think anybody has an edge going into qualifying.”
Belgian rookie Frederic Vervisch was fourth quickest in the No. 17 Quartier/Isomo/Shinokki machine for Genoa Racing at 1:00.137 (90.992 mph). Vervisch has qualified and finished fifth or better in six of his eight career Atlantic starts. Vervisch was followed by his Genoa Racing teammate, James Winslow, in the No. 18 C.A.R.S./E.T.T./D.H.S. machine. Winslow – whose best qualifying performance of the season was sixth for the first race of June’s doubleheader at New Jersey Motorsports Park – posted a lap at 1:00.282 (90.773 mph).