CTMP Pole Goes To Kenton Koch

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Kenton Koch sped to the pole Friday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. (SCCA photo)
Kenton Koch sped to the pole Friday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. (SCCA photo)
Kenton Koch sped to the pole Friday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. (SCCA photo)

BOWMANVILLE, Ont., Canada – Kenton Koch will start from the No. 1 position for Saturday’s Round Seven race of the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires, part of the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix Presented by Hawk Performance at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Nathanial Sparks and Patrick Gallagher completed the top three starting positions.

Koch wasted little time in setting a high bar to beat by turning his pole-winning time on only his second circuit of the 10-turn, 2.459-mile permanent road course. Driving the No. 12 ALARA Racing/Mazda Motorsports/BFGoodrich Tires MX-5, he stopped the clock at 1:34.850 (93.330 mph).

The time was a new qualifying lap record for the class at CTMP.

“I planned on trying to go out there to set my fastest lap on the first or second time around,” Koch said. “We set our pressures a little higher knowing it was going to be warm. Yesterday, the track really fell off after the Sports Car Challenge group got off the track. We had planned for the same thing to happen in this session.”

Sparks was able to get out of the pits ahead of Koch, which allowed him to hold the top position until being one-upped by Koch.

“This all started when I was able to set a good lap time during the last practice,” Sparks said. “I just put my head down and focused. The tires came in, and I was able to make a good early lap. After that, the tires began to fall off a bit and I just couldn’t match my early speed.”

Driving the No. 28 MedBuild/Henry Schein/ModSpace MX-5, Gallagher was able to stop the lap timer at 1:35.810 (92.395 mph). With track conditions that featured deteriorating grip, Gallagher was able to put in a flying lap mid-way through his run.

“I don’t know how much faster we can go without the draft,” Gallagher said. “I think Sparks did a great job by putting his car second.

“I think it’s going to take a lot of working together on the straights. I think our mid-corner speed is the best of the field. I would put it up against anyone else. We’ll be able to hang in the draft, but passing for the win is something different.”

Ara Malkhassian put his No. 11 ALARA Racing MX-5 into the fourth-place grid position, with a fast lap of 1:35.847 (92.359 mph).

Sebastian Landy finished the 30-minute qualifying session in the fifth. He was able to pilot the No. 49 Excitations.com/Atlanta Motorsports Group MX-5 to a fast lap of 1:35.875 (92.332 mph).

In the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge, Robby Foley put in a pole-winning drive. His lap of 1:37.565 (90.733 mph) also eclipsed the previous qualifying-lap record.

“Turning early fast laps was part of the plan,” Foley said. “We didn’t know what the track was going to be like, especially with the tire rubber put down just before we went out.”

Completing the top three positions in class were Lucas Bize and Ben Albano.