BRASELTON, Ga. (April 26, 2007) – Matt Cross, of Folsom, Calif., paced a damp morning practice for Round Two of the SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup, part of the 30th Anniversary Walter Mitty Challenge at Road Atlanta. Andrew Caddell, of Graham, Wash., and Andrew Carbonell, of Miami, Fla., were second and third fastest respectively.-30-
Following an early morning rain shower, MX-5 teams brought out the rain tires for the first of three 25-minute practice sessions at Road Atlanta. Driving the No. 80 Jason Hoover Motorsports/Hooverspeed Mazda MX-5, Cross topped the times early in the session and continued to improve his speed with each lap as the rain ceased and a dry line began to form. His fast time of 1:50.424 (82.808 mph) came on the final lap of the session.
“The car felt pretty good,” Cross said. “We went pretty easy in the first laps and in the middle we were just hanging out. Then I decided to go ahead and put a little more into the last few laps just to see what the car felt like and it felt good, so I was real happy with the session and real happy with the car.”
Cross managed to set fast time in the rain despite never being to Road Atlanta before and used the wet session to get acclimated with the 12-turn, 2.54-mile circuit.
“We’ve never been here before, so for me this was really about getting a feel for the track. Now we at least got a good look at track, but once we get some dry sessions, I’m sure a couple of these guys are going to be faster just because they know where to put the car. If it rains again, certainly we’ll go out again this afternoon just to get more comfortable with the track and where everything is.”
Driving the No. 30 TeamMER/AimSport/Pinnacle Mazda MX-5, Caddell led a large portion of the practice session before dropping a spot to Cross on the final lap. Showing the same prowess in the rain that helped him win the SCCA Spec Miata National Championship, Caddell was able to turn a fast lap of 1:50.951 (82.414 mph).
In his MX-5 Cup debut, 17-year-old Carbonell set the third-quickest time of the session in his No. 58 BSI/TeamGarcia/MOMO/JoeGibbs Mazda MX-5 with a 1:51826 (81.769 mph).
Ara Malkhassian, of Sonoma, Calif., drove his No. 11 ALARA Racing Mazda MX-5 to fourth fastest in the session with a 1:51.833 (81.764 mph). Runner-up a week ago at Houston, Jesse Combs, of Woodlands, Texas, completed the top-five with a time of 1:52.150 (81.533 mph) in his No. 7 Coolgas Ltd. Mazda MX-5.
Mark Pombo, Pratt Cole, Mike Gatto, Brett Smrz and Harrison Williams completed the top-ten.
There’s more rain in the forecast for the two remaining practice sessions this afternoon, which are scheduled for 3:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. (EDT).
For full results from Road Atlanta as well as live timing and lap notes visit www.mx-5cup.com.
Link to story: http://www.scca.com/News/News.asp?Ref=792