TROIS-RIVIÈRES, Canada (Aug. 16, 2008) – Eric Foss, of Fort Worth, Texas, set a new qualifying lap record en route to earning pole position for this afternoon’s Round Five SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup race. Ara Malkhassian, of Sonoma, Calif., will start second.
Driving the No. 28 Team MER/Autobarn Mazda MX-5, Foss captured his third pole position of the season at the 11-turn, 1.521-mile temporary street circuit. The current point leader shattered the previous qualifying record of 1:16.382 by nearly a second with a lap of 1:15.520 (72.505 mph).
“Marc Miller’s the engineer on the car. I haven’t thanked him all year and he’s done excellent job engineering for the whole team,” Foss said. “He’s made some great calls and I think everyone can see we’ve always had great cars for the race. The car’s been good all weekend. We’ve just kept making small changes. We went with stickered tires. A lot of the other teams went with scuffs, so I think that might have been a little bit of a benefit for us, but the MER/Autobarn Mazda was phenomenal!”
While Foss has been to the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières before as a crew member, this weekend marks his first time behind the wheel at a street course.
“This is my first street course race, but I did come here in 1992 to crew for an Oldsmobile Pro series team. I loved the atmosphere and it became a big desire for me to race here after I saw that. Now being here to race, seeing the crowd and everything, it feels really cool. I couldn’t have picked a better place for my first street course race.
“Street courses are about precision. It’s about getting confidence and knowing the edge of the car. I think our drivers are doing an amazing job out there. There’s been minimal contact considering how difficult this course is.”
Malkhassian, who just missed the podium at Trois-Rivières in 2007, will start this afternoon’s 45-minute race from second in the No. 11 Alara Racing MX-5. Malkhassian entered a fast lap of 1:15.950 (72.094 mph).
Last weekend’s polesitter at Road America, Todd Buras, of Melbourne, Fla., will start the race third. The No. 56 Hooverspeed/Pancreaticcure.org MX-5 driver, who topped both of Friday’s practice sessions, turned a lap of 1:15.982 (72.064 mph) in qualifying.
Shortly before hitting the tire wall in Turn Six, Elivan Goulart, of Shelton, Conn., set his fastest lap, a 1:16.094 (71.958 mph). If he can repair the No. 70 GRE/Velocity-Club.com/Redline/SCDA1.com MX-5 in time, he will start fourth.
Robert Huffmaster, of Clarkston, Mich., completed the top five. Driving the No. 27 Team MER/Huffmaster Co. MX-5, Huffmaster clocked a fast lap of 1:16.184 (71.873 mph).
Christian Franck, Brad Rampelberg and Ryan Schimsk will start sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively, and all qualified under the previous lap record. Robert Michaelian and Deborah Loth complete the top 10.
Round Five of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup will go green at 3:35 p.m. (EDT) this afternoon. Live timing and notes are available at www.mx-5cup.com. The race will air on DIRECTV, Dish Network and regional cable networks the week of September 22nd.
TROIS-RIVIÈRES, Quebec, Canada - Starting lineup for Saturday's SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Round Five race, part of the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières at the Trois-Rivières street circuit, with position, car number in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, fastest lap time, and speed in miles per hour.
1, (28), Eric Foss, Fort Worth, Texas, MX-5, 1:15.520, 72.505.
2, (11), Ara Malkhassian, Sonoma, Calif., MX-5, 1:15.950, 72.094.
3, (56), Todd Buras, Melbourne, Fla., MX-5, 1:15.982, 72.064.
4, (70), Elivan Goulart, Shelton, Conn., MX-5, 1:16.094, 71.958.
5, (27), Robert Huffmaster, Clarkston, Mich., MX-5, 1:16.184, 71.873.
6, (16), Christian Franck, Simi Valley, Calif., MX-5, 1:16.190, 71.867.
7, (14), Brad Rampelberg, San Jose, Calif., MX-5, 1:16.220, 71.839.
8, (81), Ryan Schimsk, Austin, Texas, MX-5, 1:16.359, 71.708.
9, (19), Robert Michaelian, Seal Beach, Calif., MX-5, 1:16.704, 71.386.
10, (23), Deborah Loth, Fort Worth, Texas, MX-5, 1:17.197, 70.930.
11, (00), Harrison Williams, Houston, Texas, MX-5, 1:17.240, 70.890.
12, (26), Tim Probert, Houston, Texas, MX-5, 1:17.273, 70.860.
13, (21), Randy Hale_III, Haddam, Conn., MX-5, 1:17.342, 70.797.
14, (32), Jim Jordan, Irvine, Calif., MX-5, 1:17.515, 70.639.
15, (59), Christopher Rhoades, Dallas, Texas, MX5, 1:17.567, 70.591.
16, (54), Shannon McMaster, Fort Worth, Texas, MX-5, 1:17.655, 70.511.
17, (01), Bill Sweedler, Westport, Conn., MX-5, 1:17.740, 70.434.
18, (24), James Rhoades, Dallas, Texas, MX-5, 1:17.948, 70.246.
19, (22), Laura Olson, Costa Mesa, Calif., MX-5, 1:19.507, 68.869.