VIR Q2: Neither Rain — Nor Shine — Slows Bonilla

< Back 04/23/2005

Saturday, April 23, 2005 ASTON, Va. – When they opened pit lane to begin the qualifying session for the weekend’s second race of the Skip Barber National Championship Presented by RACER, the rain was coming down. By the time the first R/T 2000 got back onto VIR’s front straight, the sun was peeking out. Okay, the cards were on the table: Which driver would be able to change his braking and line every lap to take advantage of the damp-but-drying conditions?

Nine of the 18 drivers had their time at the top of the chart — the P1 spot on the T&S monitor looked like a flashing yellow — and the session was a mud-slinging, grass-cutting fest as everybody had at least one or more off-road experience. But by the time there was a minute or two remaining, the track was offering up an essentially dry line. Needless to say, everybody’s best lap was their last.

It was the experienced Gerardo Bonilla, whose lap of 2:16.697 was more than a second quicker than Jordy Vorrath’s 2:17.828, itself a scant .023 up on Cole Nelson’s 2:17.851, who figured the whole thing out best-est.

Lorenzo Mandarino (second to Bonilla a few hours earlier in round three, pipped by a James Bondian .007) joins Nelson on row two. Skip Barber Regional standout Winston de Wardt was fifth fastest, alongside Alan Sciuto, the Snap-On Stars of Karting/Skip Barber scholarship winner. Matt Varsha, Garret Zine, Casey Neal and Peter Ludwig round out the top 10 for tomorrow morning’s round four of the SBNC.

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In the very tricky conditions, everybody went agricultural at least once…

Starting grid, Round 4, SBNC at VIR:

1. Gerardo Bonilla, Orlando, Fla., 2:16.697 / 86.117 mph
2. Jordy Vorrath, White Rock, B.C., Can., 2:17.828 / 85.411 mph
3. Cole Nelson, Atwater, Calif., 2:17.851
4. Lorenzo Mandarino, Burnaby, B.C., Can., 2:18.683
5. Winston de Wardt, Steamboat Springs, Colo., 2:19.524
6. Alan Sciuto, Orange, Calif., 2:19.662
7. Matt Varsha, Atlanta, 2:20.086
8. Garrett Zine, Rio Linda, Calif., 2:20.522
9. Casey Neal, Middletown, Ohio, 2:21.301
10. Peter Ludwig, New Paltz, N.Y., 2:21.380
11. Paul Albert, Ottawa, Ont., Can., 2:21.821
12. Sy Aryeh, Bedford, N.Y., 2:21.957
13. Pablo Sanchez Lopez, Mexico, 2:22.021
14. Andy Rossetto, Grafton, Wis., 2:22.148
15. David Greco, Italy, 2:22.685
16. Richard Heistand, Sunny Isles, Fla., 2:23.550
17. Chris Cook, Coopersburg, Pa., 2:25.777
18. Jimmy Holden, Tiona, Pa., 2:30.805

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Cole Nelson missed the outside front row by .023 of a second.

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Here’s front row starter Jordy Vorrath ”clean”…

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… and here he is ”dirty,” which didn’t slow him down too much.

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Winston de Wardt pit it together nicely and will start fifth.

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Alan Scuito wasn’t going to let a bent aerodynamic device ruin his qualifying session. The Skip Barber/Stars of Karting scholarship winner winged his way to sixth on the grid.

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Poleman Gerardo Bonilla midway through the session. Note the right-rear tire spray and the glossy slickness near the dry-line apex.

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Lorenzo Mandarino is more than able to challenge Bonilla — again — from his outside second-row grid position.

Rick Roso

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