FRANCHITTI THIRD AND TRACY SIXTH IN PROVISIONAL QUALIFYING FOR THE CLEVELAND GRAND PRIX
CLEVELAND, Ohio, (July 10, 1998) - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy turned the third and sixth fastest laps in provisional qualifying for this weekend's Cleveland Grand Prix. Jimmy Vasser earned the provisional pole with a lap-time of 56.417 seconds at 134.385 mph.
Powering his KOOL Reynard-Honda over the 2.106 miles of runway at Burke Lakefront Airport, Franchitti's time of 57.009 seconds at 132.990 mph, was 0.592 seconds behind Vasser. Bryan Herta was second quick today with a lap of 56.927 seconds at 133.181 mph. Tracy's time, meanwhile, was not that much slower than that of his teammate. He clocked a lap of 57.047 seconds at 132.901 mph, 0.038 seconds behind Franchitti.
Tomorrow's qualifying session begins with the first group at 1:30 p.m. ET, but Franchitti and Tracy will not take to the track until 2:15 p.m. as a part of the faster group.
DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN REYNARD/HONDA/FIRESTONE: (3rd with a lap-time of 57.009 seconds at 132.990 mph)
"We're getting there with the car, but we've still got a ways to go. There's definitely more time in the car and in me; we've just got to find it. There are a few things we're going to try for tomorrow. We made an improvement since this morning and if we can make the same improvement tomorrow, we'll be in good shape.
"The track feels a little less bumpy than last year, but because of that, what bumps there are, are a lot more important. We spent a lot of the afternoon trying to find a balance over the bumps. The track got better as more rubber went down. Qualifying was a bit frustrating because I felt that there was more time in the whole package. But we're in a good group tomorrow and we'll go back after it then.'
PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN REYNARD/HONDA/FIRESTONE: (6th with a lap-time of 57.047 seconds at 132.901 mph)
"I had to wait six or seven laps to get a clear lap. I know we're capable of being in the 56's, it's just a matter of getting a clear lap. Our goal was to qualify in the top group for tomorrow, which we did. And we've saved this last set of tires, which only have a couple of laps on them for the race. So I feel pretty good heading into tomorrow. The car is basically good.
"Dario put my setup on from this morning and he went well and improved the setup from there. We started with the improvements that he did and pretty much did the same times - 57's flat. I know we can go quicker. It's just a matter of getting a clear lap. Tomorrow we'll be in the faster group and work on it a little bit more."
PROVISIONAL QUALIFYING FOR THE PPG-DAYTON INDY LIGHTS CHAMPIONSHIP: Brazil's Sergio Paese earned the provisional pole with a lap of 1:05.769 seconds at 115.276 mph. Countryman Cristiano da Matta was 0.540 seconds slower, but second fastest with a lap-time of 1:06.309 seconds at 114.337 mph. Philipp Peter of Austria was third quick (1:06.370 seconds at 114.232 mph).
Team KOOL Green's Naoki Hattori was eighth quick with a lap-time of 1:06.961 seconds at 113.224 mph. Hattori has adjusted well to driving on an unfamiliar track, but will look to improve in tomorrow's final qualifying session at 12:10 p.m. ET.
NAOKI HATTORI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN LOLA: (8th with a lap-time of 1:06.961 seconds at 113.224 mph) "The track has changed since this morning. I have some oversteering and on my fastest laps, I made a few mistakes where I missed several corners. Without those mistakes, I could have been much quicker. We will look at the data and come back ready to go for tomorrow's qualifying."
EDDIE JONES, ENGINEER FOR #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN LOLA: "We will have to check the data and see what is a realistic lap. As Naoki said, he made many mistakes. The biggest question is Paese, who is the fastest on high downforce. So, we may have re-think our strategy."
PROVISIONAL QUALIFYING FOR ROUND 5 OF THE BARBER DODGE PRO SERIES: Team KOOL Green's Alex Gurney was looking forward to a level playing-field in Cleveland, as the series makes its first appearance at Burke Lakefront Airport. Unfortunately, a technical problem means no timing and scoring was available.
ALEX GURNEY, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN (BARBER DODGE PRO SERIES):
"It's tough to see where you're going out there, but I'm starting to figure it out. I don't think I put in a real screamer (fast lap) today. It's important to save the tires; that seems to be a slight problem. The car was very, very loose. I came in and we tried a few changes with the shocks. I don't know how much we learned but I might have found a direction to go (with the changes). We'll see tomorrow."
PRACTICE SESSION 1 FOR ROUND 6 OF THE KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP: In preparation for tomorrow's qualifying, KOOL-sponsored driver Matt Sielsky was seventh in the first and only practice session, which included 31 cars. He turned a lap of 1:10.907 seconds at 106.92 mph. Canadians Kenny Wilden and Alex Tagliani were the two fastest cars on track. Wilden led the session with a time of 1:09.534 seconds at 109.03 mph. Tagliani's time was 1:09.806 seconds at 108.60 mph.
MATT SIELSKY, #16 LCI INTERNATIONAL SWIFT-TOYOTA:
"The track is a lot more difficult than I thought. It's really hard to see where to brake and where to turn in, and I still think I'm in the process of doing that. But, every lap seems to get a little better. I've got a good enough read on the track that we can start making changes on the car. We've got some ideas for tomorrow, and I think it'll be a good day tomorrow."