Michael Cooper, of Syossett, N.Y., and Andre Rapone, of Thornhill, Ontario, earned the Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car and Touring Car B poles, respectively, for this afternoon’s Motul CTMP Grand Prix Presented by Optima Batteries at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park combined class race.
Michael Cooper en route to the pole Saturday at CTMP (Weber Image)
Broken into two qualifying sessions, the Pirelli Touring Cars had a truncated session owing to a crash on the out lap by Anthony Rapone’s No. 81 Durabond Racing Honda Civic Si. Following the track cleanup, the Touring Cars had just seven minutes to qualify.
Cooper only needed one flying lap, though, turning a 1:32.241 (95.970 mph) around the 10-turn, 2.459-mile circuit in his No. 03 MAZDASPEED Motorsports MAZDASPEED3.
“That first lap was really good,” Cooper said. “I think I got everything out of the stickers on the first one. Unfortunately, I came around turn 5 and there was a red flag. There was a car up on the barrier. So, I took care of the tires from there, brought it to pit lane, let everything cool down, and we waited until green to come out. [When the session went green], we got a nice gap between the guys in front of us.
“It’s not the track record or anything. So, it’s not anything special. But, compared to our competitors, it sure looks like it is. We’ve been having a really good weekend. It [the car] is super fast and so drivable. It makes my job look easy.”
Ryan Winchester, of Mason City, Iowa, was second quickest, turning a 1:33.247 (94.935 mph) in the No. 72 Ligon Industries/HPD Honda Civic Si. Teammate and point leader Todd Lamb, of Atlanta, Ga., was third in the No. 71 National Karting News/HPD Honda Civic Si, turning a best time of 1:33.325 (94.855 mph).
Shea Holbrook, of Groveland, Fla., made it three Compass360 cars in-a-row, putting her No. 67 TrueCar Honda Civic Si fourth, with a 1:33.484 (94.694 mph). Jeff Altenburg, of Ellicott City, Md., was fifth in the No. 43 HPA Motorsports/Brimtek Volkswagen GLI, with a 1:33.702 (94.474 mph).
The Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car B field preceded the Touring Car session, and Rapone trailed Craig Capaldi, of Lenox Twp, Mich., until the checkered flag fell, completing a 1:46.729 (82.942 mph) lap in his No. 73 Durabond Racing Honda Fit to earn the pole position for today’s race.
“I had no radio, it went dead after the first lap,” Andre Rapone said. “I pitted and said, ‘Where do we stand?’ [They said], ‘two.’ O.K., I said, ‘How many more laps do I got?’ ‘One.’ O.K. let’s go for it. So I just gave it my all. I put in some fast corners, watched my lines and got it done.”
Rapone’s brother Anthony, who crashed minutes later, was awake and alert and transported to Lakeridge Health in Bowmanville for further observation. Andre Rapone planned to accompany his brother and was unsure if he would be back in time for the afternoon’s race.
Driving the No. 86 CapaldiRacing.com Ford Fiesta, Capaldi ran a 1:46.975 (82.752 mph) on his first flying lap and then parked. While he will start second, his Pirelli tires have only two laps on them, while Rapone ran seven laps.
Point leader Jonathan Start will start his No. 00 Kawartha Chrysler-FIAT/Speedlogix/FIATUSA.com Fiat 500 third after turning a 1:48.790 (81.371 mph). Peter Schwartzott Jr. (No. 04 MAZDASPEED Motorsports MAZDA2) and Jim Kenzie (No. 92 Xtreme Indoor Karting/Gunther Kia Rio) completed the top five.
This afternoon will feature a pair of 25-minute points races, separated by a 15-minute intermission. The field will make its rolling start for race one at 3:40 p.m. (EDT). Catch the action live on www.world-challengetv.com.