Forsythe 1-2 in Saturday practice
|By David Malsher||Saturday, October 21st 2006, 01:38 GMT|
AJ Allmendinger and Paul Tracy staked their claim as pole position contenders when they headed this morning's free practice session at Surfers Paradise.
The Forsythe Championship Racing pair, who both crashed yesterday, stormed to first and second, Allmendinger getting a 0.078-seconds edge over his teammate to set a 1:32.929 lap, an average of 108.276mph.
The worry for Tracy (and indeed RuSPORT's Ryan Briscoe and PKV Racing's Katherine Legge) is that just as the session finished, a heavy shower soaked the circuit.
More is predicted for this afternoon, and so track conditions could be considerably slower than in first qualifying yesterday.
None of these three set a time in qualifying yesterday, so unless they can top this afternoon's final qualifying session, they're going to be starting the race from the back of the grid.
Newman/Haas Racing duo Bruno Junqueira and Sebastien Bourdais were third and fourth fastest this morning, but the star of the show was unquestionably Antonio Pizzonia, who wrung the neck of the Rocketsports car to get within 0.2 seconds of Bourdais.
The car was frequently exiting corners at alarming angles, but he held it together and continues to impress everyone in the team.
Nelson Philippe pipped CTE Racing HVM teammate Dan Clarke in the dying seconds of the session to grab sixth, but Clarke - who is completely new to this circuit - was 0.03 seconds ahead of Rookie of the Year rival Will Power.
Team Australia driver Power banked a front-row grid slot by topping qualifying yesterday but his driving this morning gave no hint that he is going to coast through qualifying this afternoon, pipping his teammate Alex Tagliani by 0.038 seconds.
PKV Racing are curiously off the pace this weekend, Oriol Servia and Legge languishing in 12th and 16th places respectively.
Pos Driver Team Time 1. Allmendinger Forsythe Championship 1:32.929 2. Tracy Forsythe Championship 1:33.007 + 0.078 3. Junqueira Newman/Haas 1:33.064 + 0.135 4. Bourdais Newman/Haas 1:33.080 + 0.151 5. Pizzonia Rocketsports 1:33.194 + 0.265 6. Philippe CTE - HVM 1:33.905 + 0.976 7. Clarke CTE - HVM 1:34.020 + 1.091 8. Power Team Australia 1:34.051 + 1.122 9. Tagliani Team Australia 1:34.089 + 1.160 10. Briscoe RuSPORT 1:34.115 + 1.186 11. Dominguez Rocketsports 1:34.415 + 1.486 12. Servia PKV 1:34.570 + 1.641 13. Heylen Dale Coyne 1:34.626 + 1.697 14. Ranger Mi-Jack Conquest 1:34.747 + 1.818 15. Zwolsman Mi-Jack Conquest 1:34.864 + 1.935 16. Legge PKV 1:35.415 + 2.486 17. Wirth Dale Coyne 1:38.218 + 5.289