LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 26, 2006) – As the final practice session of the SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by Hankook wound down Friday at Lime Rock Park, Ben Hohn, of Easton, Conn., and Jason Saini, of Fort Worth, Texas, traded the day’s fast time back and forth multiple laps in a row. In the end, however, it was Hohn’s No. 40 P1-Motorsports.com/HKF Racing Mazda MX-5 that took the top spot with a 1:09.588 (79.151 mph).-30-
After the morning’s 20-minute session was nearly a wash-out with steady showers turning the 1.54-mile, seven-turn road course into a continuous puddle, it appeared the same might happen in the afternoon as the final practice also started in the rain. The sun broke through toward the end, however, drying the track and allowing times to plummet with each lap.
The course didn’t dry completely, but Hohn said that was fine with him.
“We made a bunch of changes on the setup of the car,” said Hohn, who was tenth in the morning session with a 1:24.533. “We went to the wet tires where we had dry ones earlier. We changed around some of the suspension and shock settings. The track was drying a little bit, so that was worth a few seconds as well.
“We had all three P1 cars set up a little bit differently in order to collect data. I think we figured out which one was right.”
Hohn also said he was driving for others besides himself, and that may have helped as well.
“Randy [Hale] said to go out there try hard for the Hole in the Wall Gang kids. So I went out there and just tried the hardest I could and make a good showing out of it. I’m sure that had a lot to do with it too.”
Saini chose not to run in the extremely wet morning conditions, but appeared to be on his game regardless, running a 1:09.890 (78.809 mph) at the end of the day in his No. 28 specmiata.com/Autobarn Mazda MX-5.
Saini held the top practice time on several occasions before Hohn’s time stuck at the end.
Erik Stearns, of Van Buren, Ohio, was third fastest Friday with a 1:10.645 (77.967 mph) in his No. 97 Team MER/Dick’s Auto Salvage MX-5. Ryan Pilla, of Amagansett, N.Y., was fourth in his MX-5 Cup practice debut, turning a 1:10.819 (77.775 mph).
First-session leader Anders Hainer, of Hidden Hills, Calif., led early during the afternoon run, but contact with another car near Turn Seven caused damage to the right rear quarter of his No. 13 Under Armour MX-5, and Hainer stopped practicing soon after. Before ending his day, Hainer turned the fifth-fastest time of 1:11.234 (77.322 mph).
Qualifying for Sunday’s SCCA Pro Racing SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by Hankook race, part of the Rolex GT Sports Car Weekend, is set for Saturday at 12:45 p.m. (EDT).
To follow MX-5 Cup qualifying and race action live via the web, go to www.mx-5cup.com, click the Lime Rock Park event button under the 2006 schedule menu and then select the “Live Timing and Scoring Link Brought to You by SCCA.com” link in the middle of the page.
For other information, including a weekend schedule, entry list and full results, visit www.mx-5cup.com.
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