Montreal, Quebec, Canada (June 11, 1999) – Nicolas Rondet, in his first appearance at the famed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the FIA Formula One Canadian Grand Prix weekend, is having a bittersweet return to road courses following three consecutive ovals in the 1999 Kool/Toyota Atlantic Championship season. Rondet, driving the #14 World Speed Motorsports – Martini Sunglasses/Red Line Oil Swift 008.a, today qualified 8th out of a 30-car field for tomorrow’s 27-lap, 75-mile race.
“We’ve been struggling a little bit with finding the optimum set-up,” said Rondet, who was born in France, raised in Brazil and currently lives in San Diego, California. “I was very surprised with the qualifying session. The car is better than this morning, but it is still very unpredictable. The way it is now, it is very hard to drive. It can be quick, but I feel I have to squeeze the heck out of it to get a good lap. And I made mistakes, too. We lost the electronics on the dash so I had no indication of revs or shift points. We’ll get the electronics working, look at our data, and see where we need to go. We should be starting much better than eighth. This team has a strong record in Montreal, so I’m sure we’ll get things figured out for tomorrow.”
Rondet, who currently leads the Rookie-of-the-Year title chase and is 7th overall, set a best time of 1:38.821 during the 60-minute qualifying session. Starting on pole is Alexandre Tagliani followed by Anthony Lazzaro. Tomorrow’s race is scheduled to begin at 2:30 pm (Eastern), featuring a rolling start.
CANADIAN CHALLENGE PART 2
Montreal, Quebec, Canada (June 12, 1999) – Nicolas Rondet, in his first appearance at the famed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the FIA Formula One Canadian Grand Prix weekend, finished 26th in today’s Kool/Toyota Atlantic Championship race. Rondet, driving the #14 World Speed Motorsports – Martini Sunglasses/Red Line Oil Swift 008.a, had the speed for a strong finish, however, was sidelined with shift linkage troubles and a cut front tire.
“We’ve had a pretty rough weekend,” said Rondet, who started eighth. “On the warm-up lap before the race, the car was stuck in gear and would not up-shift or down-shift. I took the start hoping it would shift at higher revs, but it didn’t. I came in and the crew fixed the linkage. Back in the race, the car was very good. Mike Doyle completely changed the set-up from yesterday and it was great. It was my car again, and we started moving up. Speedwise, we were very quick. Unfortunately, the front tire got cut and completely let go entering Turn One. I went straight off, parked in the grass and it was over.” Rondet remains in the Rookie-of-the-Year point lead and is 7th overall in the season standings.
The race will be televised via espn2 on Saturday, June 19 at 12:00 pm, with repeat broadcasts on Thursday, June 24 at 4:00 am, and again at 2:00 pm (all times Eastern). The French-speaking RDS Canadian network will broadcast the race on Sunday, July 11, while ESPN International will televise the race on Saturday, June 19 at 12:00.
The Kool/Toyota Championship series resumes with the Texaco/Havoline 200 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, on July 11.