PORTLAND, Ore. (June 8, 2007) - Jesse Combs, of Houston, Texas, set the fastest practice time of the day at Portland International Raceway for Round Four of the SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup, part of the Mazda Grand Prix of Portland Present by Joe’s. Ara Malkhassina, of Sonoma, Calif., and Jason Saini, of Fort Worth, Texas, were second and third quick, respectively.-30-
Under overcast skies in the unseasonably cold morning session, Combs had no problem finding grip on the 1.967-mile permanent road course. Driving the No. 7 Coolgas Ltd./Alara Racing Mazda MX-5, Combs’ time of 1:27.626 (80.811 mph) could not be topped in the remaining two practice sessions despite a dramatic improvement in the weather throughout the day.
“The car was great,” Combs said. “We came out here and tested last week and then we put the Kumhos on this weekend and immediately you can tell there’s a lot more grip. The MX-5 is a great car.”
Malkhassian also set his quickest time in the morning session, turning a 1:27.805 (80.646 mph) in his No. 11 Alara Racing MX-5, and ended the day second on the time sheets.
Current point leader Saini finished the day third fastest. Behind the wheel of the No. 28 Autobarn Mazda/SafeRacer.com MX-5, Saini’s fast time of 1:27.872 (80.585 mph) came in the morning session as well.
All of the top three drivers’ fast laps were under the current series qualifying record.
Barry Fromberg turned a time 1:28.103 (80.374 mph) in his No. 43 Alara Racing/FBG Racing Mazda MX-5 to end the day fourth quick. Local driver Brad McAllister completed the top five in his No. 39 ACE Surgical Supply/H&M Motorsports MX-5 with a time of 1:28.108 (80.369 mph).
Matt Cross, Pratt Cole, Andrew Caddell, Todd Buras and Bob Michaelian completed the top ten. Buras and Michaelian were the only two drivers in the top ten who set their fastest practice times later in the day.
Qualifying for Round Four of the MX-5 Cup is scheduled for Saturday, June 9 at 3:15 p.m. (PDT).
For more information including live timing and lap notes visit www.mx-5cup.com.
Link to story: http://www.scca.com/News/News.asp?Ref=823