Former IRL champ says track is "most fun" in world

DEAN MCNULTY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:58 PM ET

BOWMANVILLE -- Yesterday wasn't Scott Sharp's first visit to Mosport International Speedway.

The nine-time IndyCar series winner, who won the Indy Racing League championship in 1996 and the 24 Hours of Daytona the same year, in fact comes into today's Mobil 1 Grand Prix of Mosport as defending champion in the LMP1 American Le Mans Series.

Co-driving the No. 9 Acura ARX 02A for Patron Highcroft Racing with veteran David Brabham, Sharp talks about Mosport's 10-turn, four-km permanent road course track with something approaching reverence.

"There just aren't many more race tracks like Mosport left in the world," he said after the No. 9 Acura team qualified on the pole for today's race with a lap of one minute, 5:323 seconds.

Sharp laments that most road course tracks in Europe have been re-configured over the past decade to comply with insurers' demands for less dangerous layouts.

"Mosport may not be the safest track in the world, but it definitely is the most fun," he said.

The 41-year-old native of Jupiter, Fla., said that for a road course that has drastic changes in elevation, combined with high speed and hair-pin turns, he can stay on the accelerator full out about 75% of the time.

"Where else can you go into a corner like Mosport's Turn 2 at full throttle, and be shifting up going into Turn 3?" he said.

Sharp's only regret this weekend is that showers on Friday and heavy fog early yesterday limited the time he had on the track in what should be dry conditions today.

"Everyone has been dealt the same hand, as mother nature seldom plays favourites," he said.

Maybe not Mother Nature, but Sharp and Brabham have to be considered the bettor's choice to repeat as Mosport champions.

The pair lead the ALMS points championship with a 13-point margin over the No. 66 De Ferran Motorsports Acura of Gil De Ferran and Simon Pagenaud with just two races left after Mosport.

Pagenaud was second fastest in qualifying at 1:05:397 yesterday.

In the ALMS GT2 class, the No. 92 BMW E92 M3 of Dirk Mueller out of the Rahal Letterman Racing garage claimed the pole with a lap of 1:17:528 with teammate Joey Hand second at 1:17:657.

The much-anticipated Canadian debut of the C6-R Corvette fell somewhat flat with Oliver Gavin giving the No. 4 team fourth spot on the grid with a lap of 1:17:969. The other Corvette, driven by Johnny O'Connell, was fifth fastest at 1:18:305.

DEAN.MCNULTY@SUMEDIA.CA


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