Atlantic Championship points leader Jonathan Bomarito continued his hot streak in final qualifying for the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres and extended his points lead in record fashion.
Driving the #26 Del Taco/Stone Brewing/Discount Tire/RLM Investments entry for Mathiasen Motorsports, Bomarito broke the Atlantic Championship track record at the historic, 1.521-mile temporary street circuit with a lap at 58.989 seconds (92.824 mph). The lap eclipsed the previous record of 59.296 seconds (92.343 mph) set by 35th Anniversary Atlantic Championship All-Star Team member A.J. Allmendinger in his championship-winning season of 2003.
It is the third pole position of the season for Bomarito and the fourth of his Atlantic career, and his bonus point for taking the pole in final qualifying moved him six points ahead of Canadian James Hinchcliffe in the championship standings.
Bomarito now leads the standings with 160 points to Hinchcliffe's 154 markers heading into Sunday's eighth round of the 11-race 2008 Atlantic Championship season. The American will be looking for his third victory of the season and is looking to become the 10th consecutive Atlantic driver to win at Trois-Rivieres after starting from the pole position.
“What an amazing session, really,” Bomarito said. “We had it pretty much mapped out before we even went out and we stuck to the game plan. We made a good change on pit lane. It was a perfect session. I can't thank the guys enough. The whole Mathiasen Motorsports team is amazing. We've got Atlantic legend Dave Empringham here working with us this weekend.
“It's really good to finally work with him on a race weekend. It's just been a lot of fun. We're enjoying it, we've got great momentum and we're looking forward to a good race tomorrow.”
Bomarito and rookie Jonathan Summerton have combined to win each of the last four Atlantic races and Summerton joined Bomarito on the front row with a lap at 59.288 seconds (92.356 mph) in the #36 Newman Wachs Racing machine. It was the best qualifying performance of Summerton's Atlantic career, topping a previous best starting spot of third in the first race of the doubleheader at Edmonton three weeks ago. In addition to his two victories, Summerton has finished sixth or better in five of his seven starts this season.
“Of course, qualifying second, my best qualifying yet, was really good,” Summerton said. “We were going for that pole position, but we just didn't quite have it today. We put the new set of tyres on really early, and basically, I don't know what happened, but we had a little bit of a change in the setup, I guess, from the old to the new. I was told to stay out and just keep running laps. It was a lot of fun, to say the least. I'm really happy to be second out there.”
Also turning in the best qualifying result of his Atlantic career was Canadian rookie Daniel Morad, who will start third in the #70 Metro Directories of Georgia/Grapeking entry for Eurointernational. Morad logged a best lap at 59.373 seconds (92.224 mph) to secure the inside of row two on the grid. His previous best starting spot was seventh for the second race of the Edmonton doubleheader, and he heads into Sunday's race looking to improve on a season-best race result of sixth from the season-opener at Long Beach in April.