Cooper, Rapone Repeat Touring Car Poles in Canada
June 24, 2012 - BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada - Michael Cooper, of Syosset, N.Y., and Andre Rapone, of Thornhill, Ontario, repeated their polewinning efforts from Saturday in the Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car and Touring Car B classes, respectively, at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. They will lead the field at the standing start for this afternoon’s Motul CTMP Grand Prix Presented by Optima Batteries.
Michael Cooper wins the Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car pole for Sunday's Round 9 race (Weber image).
Driving the No. 03 MAZDASPEED Motorsports MAZDASPEED3, Cooper was again the only car to eclipse the 1:33 mark, running a 1:32.559 (95.640 mph) to secure his third pole of the season. Cooper went on to finish second and first in the twin sprint races on Saturday to take the Championship point lead. This afternoon will feature a single, 40-minute race.
“The run was good,” Cooper said. “We made some changes overnight. The car wasn’t the way we wanted it. So, we brought it to pit lane right away and we went backwards on some changes that we had made. We got the car back to where it was. I just put in a nice solid lap that would put us up there and it held up for the pole. We’ll start from the front row and take the race step-by-step.”
Shea Holbrook, of Orlando, Fla., will start from the front row for the first time in her career, putting the No. 67 TrueCar.com Honda Civic Si second with a fast time of 1:33.113 (95.071 mph).
Her Compass360 teammates, Ryan Winchester (No. 72 Ligon Industries/HPD Honda Civic Si) and Todd Lamb (No. 71 National Karting News/HPD Honda Civic Si), clocked in the next two fastest times at 1:33.206 (94.976 mph) and 1:33.219 (94.963 mph), respectively.
Gary Kwok turned the fifth fastest qualifying lap with a 1:34.009 (94.165 mph) in the No. 82 M&S Produce/Ultimate Racing/Honda Civic Si.
In Touring Car B, Rapone kept his perfect weekend going after taking the pole and both twin sprint race wins in his No. 73 Durabond Racing Honda Fit. Rapone waited until the remainder of the field had a couple of laps in the books before taking to the track.
As was the case on Saturday, Craig Capaldi, of Lenox Twp, Mich., led the session early with a 1:47.582 (82.285 mph) in his No. 86. CapaldiRacing.com Ford Fiesta. Rapone’s third lap was a 1:47.473 (82.368 mph) to earn the pole position by 0.109-second.
“Everybody’s picked up their game,” Rapone said. “Qualifying went pretty smooth. We got there a little late and were running on cold equipment for a couple of laps. I’ve always liked to put the fastest laps in at the end of a session. You know, get comfortable and then go for it. With these cars, being so light and underpowered, you’ve got to take the time to put the temps into them.
“It’s nice to hear everybody is nice and tight, and it’s going to be a great race. I’m looking forward to it.”
Capaldi will start second for the second-straight day. Behind him will be point leader Jonathan Start, of Caldonia, Mich., in the No. 00 Kawartha FIAT/Speedlogix Fiat 500 after turning a 1:47.977 (81.984 mph).
Peter Schwartzott Jr., of White Plains, N.Y., was fourth in the No. 04 Mazda Motorsports Development MAZDA2, followed by the No. 92 Xtreme Indoor Karting/Gunther Kia Rio of Milton, Ontario’s Jim Kenzie.
Today’s Motul CTMP Grand Prix Presented by Optima Batteries Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car and Touring Car B race will be webcast at www.world-challengetv.com beginning at 12:45 p.m. (EDT). The weekend’s action will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network July 7 at 5 p.m.