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Veterans Brownson, Sabato Take Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Pole Positions at Mosport

Jon Brownson (#34) captured the overall pole. Photo by freidrichphoto.com/IMSAExperience was the order of the day for the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites drivers at Mosport today, as Jon Brownson and Robert Sabato, two drivers with a great deal of history at the famed Ontario road course, earned pole positions for tomorrow’s Round 7.

2011 marks Brownson’s fourth straight appearance at Mosport behind the wheel of the #34 Eurosport Racing/Little Mountain Development Élan DP02 in the Lites 1 class, but his first pole position.

“It was a wonderful example of a great car at the right time, in the right place!” smiled Brownson, who set quick time at 1:17.567. “This is a driver’s track and for whatever reason, I seem to do well at these faster tracks. It’s one that really gets your attention – you’re going around a turn and thinking ‘this isn’t going to work out’ and it does.

“I’ve heard Mosport compared to Nürburgring – I’ve never driven there, but I’ve watched it and I think it must be true; these high speed corners are such a thrill, because they’re just about flat out. It’s up to the driver to see how much speed they can carry through the corner and it becomes a real challenge. I see 126 mph (203km) coming out of turn one and we go into two without lifting at all. You think it’s impossible, but the car sticks – and it’s a wonderful feeling!

Jonathan Gore starts second in the #14 Comprent Motorsports Élan DP02, coming back from some mechanical issues to get close to Brownson’s pole time with a lap at 1:17.728 – only two tenths back.

“It was an interesting session,” said Gore. “We had some gearbox issues so we started in the back and had some traffic. I like this place – but right up to about 95% where you think you’ve got it, it’s great, but that last five percent is really hard to get.”

Robert Sabato captured the Lites 2 pole. Photo by freidrichphoto.com/IMSAFor Toronto’s Sabato, who has literally thousands of laps around Mosport and earned one of two pole positions here last year, it was a welcome session without much in the way of drama. Second through most of the practice sessions to teammate Michal Chlumecky, Sabato set a quick time of 1:20.333 early in qualifying in his #22 6th Gear Racing West WR1000 and was able to save his Cooper tires for tomorrow’s race.

“Qualifying was a bit of a surprise,” said Sabato, “because Mike was leading in the practice sessions. We made a bunch of changes to the car in practice, but Mike seemed to be squeaking out more and more. Mike and I were both setting up the car the same, but things just came to me in qualifying. I had some L1 cars ahead of me and I kind of used them as targets and it just came together.”

Chlumecky brought his #30 6th Gear Racing/CGI West WR1000 to the track for the first time this season and wasted no time getting up to speed. But that speed mysteriously eluded him during qualifying, as he set a fast time of 1:22.283, nearly two seconds behind Sabato.

“The track was fantastic, the car was great and the guys did a great job,” said Chlumecky. “The car seemed to handle great and I thought I was driving hard, but at the end of the day, the numbers didn’t come. But I’m still happy, because the results were good. Hopefully, we’ll be able to bring the numbers up during the race.”

The Prototype Lites mission is two-fold: present an opportunity for semi-professional race car drivers to compete in a world-class environment while also providing an avenue for drivers to move up the ladder into the LMPC or LMP classes in the American Le Mans Series Presented by Tequila Patrón. The series is divided into two classes: Lites 1, featuring the Élan DP02 chassis, powered by a 2.3-liter, four-cylinder Mazda MP2 engine; and Lites 2, utilizing the West WX10 and WR1000 chassis, with either a Kawasaki ZX10R or a Suzuki GSXR motor.

The Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship will have two 30 minute races - on Saturday at 1:30pm and 10:30am Sunday, prior to the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón race. Visit www.prototypelites.com for live timing and scoring and updates throughout the race weekend.

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