Drissi Takes First Trans-Am Pole of 2010 Season; Shares Front Row with Ruman in Toronto

TORONTO, Ontario, Canada -

Defending SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series champion Tomy Drissi, of Hollywood, Calif. picked up his first pole position of the 2010 season in qualifying for the sixth round of the 10-race championship as part of the Honda Indy Toronto on Sunday afternoon. Drissi will share the front row with the only woman in the field, Amy Ruman, of Kent, Ohio.
Tomy Drissi (No. 5) earned his first Trans-Am pole position of the season and the fourth of his career in Toronto. Credit: Mark Weber/SCCA

Driving the No. 5 Wall Street, Money Never Sleeps Jaguar XKR, Drissi posted a best lap at 1:11.249 (88.675 mph), breaking the previous Trans-Am track record of 1:11.713 (88.101 mph) set by Tommy Kendall in 2004. It is the fourth pole position of Drissi’s Trans-Am career, and his first pole since last year at Portland International Raceway. He is looking for his second victory of the season on Sunday.

“We got us a pole,” Drissi said. “I’m very happy for the pole. I’m very happy for the guys. They’ve worked so hard, this RSR team. I got a text from (RSR owner) Paul Gentilozzi, because I was messing with the car a little bit and making some changes. He goes, ‘Stop messing with the car! You were fast to begin with!’ We always want to try some other stuff, but he was right. We went right back and we were fast.

“We needed this and it changes our momentum. We finished second the last race. It’s going to be a big fight tomorrow. Amy Ruman, that’s a good driver. It was exciting for Amy. That was a fast lap, because I know how hard I was working for my low 11. Good job to Amy. It’s going to be a big fight tomorrow. It’s 52 laps and you’re not only racing the other cars and the other teams, you’re racing the track. You cannot make a mistake here. It’s going to be hot, but the ‘Rockin’ Moroccan’ is ready.”

Ruman piloted her No. 23 McNichols/Goodyear/Cenweld Chevrolet Corvette to a best lap at 1:11.866 (87.913 mph) to earn her first front-row starting position in Trans-Am competition since taking a pole at Heartland Park Topeka in 2006. She is making her third Trans-Am start of the season this weekend and earned her second career podium result in the series in her last appearance at Road America last month. Ruman overcame an early spin in the session to score the second spot on the grid.

“It feels amazing,” said Ruman. “I’m really excited about it. I couldn’t be happier with the car. It felt pretty good. It was a little greasy at first, but we came in, took a break for a minute, got everything back together and cracked a few good laps. I was excited. I think it’ll come to me. We usually have a good car at the end of the race, so I’m confident that tomorrow will be the same. I’m just going to relax, stay focused and let the race come to me.”

Championship leader Tony Ave, of Maiden, N.C., found the wall along the backstretch on two different occasions during qualifying and wound up third with a best lap at 1:12.225 (87.476 mph) in the No. 4 Lamers Racing/McMahon Group/Optech/PME Chevrolet Corvette. The performance snapped a run of three straight pole positions for Ave, and Sunday’s race will be the first one this season in which he will not start from the front row.

“We just need to tighten our car way up and make it better over the bumps,” said Ave. “This is the first time with the cars I build that I’ve ever taken them to a street course. We have them pretty well perfected for the faster places, but what we used to do with shocks with the tires we used to use doesn’t work as good with these. We’re just not getting the grip, especially in the back of the car. I just tried to hustle it a little too much there and touched the wall, so I had to stop. I could have gone maybe a half a second quicker, but certainly not a second. It is what it is. We’re just going to have to try and fix it today. It’s going to be a long race here, 52 laps around this racetrack in these cars, so I definitely need to make it easier to drive to do that.”

Making his first-ever street circuit appearance this weekend, RJ Lopez, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, will start fourth in the No. 6 Disco 106/ECR Engines/Goodyear Chevrolet Corvette. Lopez posted a best lap at 1:12.532 (87.106 mph). Local favorite Blaise Csida, of Stouffville, Ontario, Canada completed the top five in qualifying. Csida turned a best lap at 1:12.576 (87.053 mph) in the No. 07 Canadian Primedia/Signal Technologies Assoc./Gateway Racing Chevrolet Corvette.

The 52-lap (91.26-mile) race is scheduled to take the green flag at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon.

TORONTO, Ontario, Canada – Starting lineup for Sunday’s SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series Round 6 race, part of the Honda Indy Toronto, with position, car number in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, fastest lap time, and speed in miles per hour.

1. (5) Tomy Drissi, Hollywood, Calif., Jaguar XKR, 1:11.249, 88.675.

2. (23) Amy Ruman, Kent, Ohio, Chevrolet Corvette, 1:11.866, 87.913.

3. (4) Tony Ave, Maiden, N.C., Chevrolet Corvette, 1:12.225, 87.476.

4. (6) RJ Lopez, Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic, Chevrolet Corvette, 1:12.532, 87.106.

5. (07) Blaise Csida (R), Stouffville, Ontario, Canada, Chevrolet Corvette, 1:12.576, 87.053.

6. (77) Glen Jung(R), Osteen, Fla., Mazda RX-7, 1:13.774, 85.640.

7. (59) Simon Gregg, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Chevrolet Corvette, 1:14.973, 84.270.

8. (27) Elmer Shannon(R), San Francisco, Calif., Chevrolet Corvette, 1:16.469, 82.621.

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