ELKHART LAKE, Wis.
Despite a late arrival to the track and no prior experience on the 4.048-mile Road America circuit, it didn't take long for French rookie Franck Perera (#11 CJ Motorsport/Everflux/Perfect Nutrition) to find his way to the top of the time charts in the opening practice session for this weekend's Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda season finale, the Generac Grand Prix.
Perera posted a best lap at 2:00.095 (121.344 mph) in the Condor Motorsports machine to lead the 24-car field in the opening session. The Frenchman, who has wrapped up second place in the championship and Rookie of the Year honors, is looking to complete an outstanding season. He has finished on the podium in his past seven consecutive starts--including victories at Mont-Tremblant and Toronto--and is the only driver in the series to have finished every race inside the top-five positions.
"It was a pretty good session," Perera said. "It's again a new track. It's something similar to Mont-Tremblant, but even longer and it's probably a little bit more bumpy. I think the track is a bit older than Mont-Tremblant, but it's really nice for our team. It's amazing to drive here. It's great. I was lucky, because (Giacomo) Ricci and me were together in the rented road car, and we arrived only five minutes before the practice, because we were completely lost on the way to the track in the middle of the country. The hotel was so far. We are lucky to do the practice. I'm lucky we did a really great job. The car is really, really good, really consistent. We have a good gap, so it's good for the weekend, and we also bettered the best lap of last year, so that's pretty good. Condor did a really good job today, so it's good for the last race.