A calamity-filled qualifying session was more calm than it was crazy for Alex Tagliani as the 2016 Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto winner won the pole while many of his competitors suffered crash damage.
Tagliani set the fast lap of 1:16.893 to take pole ahead of fellow French-Canadian drivers Marc-Antoine Camirand, Andrew Ranger and Kevin Lacroix. Aurora, Ont.’s Anthony Simone will start fifth.
“Car’s pretty good. Team has done a tremendous job over the winter. We’ve been strong at CTMP also. We’re here,” Tagliani said after qualifying. “It’s going to be a fun event with those two guys [Ranger and Camirand] that are fairly quick as well. It should be a good show for the fans tomorrow.”
Lacroix was leading the session late in group qualifying when he clipped the inside wall of turn seven before smashing into the outside wall, barreling into the tire barriers in turn eight. Lacroix exited the car under his own power and is okay, but his car is not. The defending Pinty’s Grand Prix race winner will be forced to a backup for Saturday’s race.
Lacroix wasn’t the only car suffering crash damage during qualifying.
In the second group of qualifying, James Vance clipped the side of J.F. Dumoulin while warming up his tires. Vance then hit the outside wall and caused too much damage to be able to make a qualifying lap. He’ll start 18th for Saturday’s event.
One more incident occurred before qualifying came to an end involving Simone, who hit the wall in the closing moments of the session. It’s unknown whether the team will repair the car or be forced to a backup car, if they have one.
Meanwhile, one car hoping to not suffer crash damage will be third-place qualifier Camirand. In last year’s race, he made a bold move late in the race while trying to pass Lacroix for the win going into turn nine. Camirand said he’s learned from the mistake he made last year.
“The car was really fast. I was a little impatient trying to pass on the outside of that corner,” he said. “To be honest, that pass, I dream a lot at night since last year. I won’t do it the same way this year.”
Rounding out the top-10 qualifiers were Gary Klutt, L.P. Dumoulin, J.F. Dumoulin, Kerry Micks and Peter Klutt.
Saturday’s Pinty’s Series race will go green at 3:40 p.m. ET.