DETROIT (June 16, 2001) - Defending race champion Helio Castroneves of Marlboro Team Penske positioned himself for a successful run at a second consecutive Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit title Saturday when he captured the pole for ...
DETROIT (June 16, 2001) - Defending race champion Helio Castroneves of Marlboro Team Penske positioned himself for a successful run at a second consecutive Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit title Saturday when he captured the pole for Sunday's seventh round of the FedEx Championship Series at The Raceway on Belle Isle (2 p.m. ET, live, ABC-TV).
Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard), the reigning Indianapolis 500 champion who claimed his first career Champ Car victory on Belle Isle last year, recorded a lap of 114.908 miles per hour (one minute, 13.499 seconds) on the 2.346-mile temporary street circuit. His effort led Marlboro Team Penske to two of the top three qualifying positions as teammate Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard), the reigning FedEx Championship Series champion, qualified third at 114.647 mph (1:13.766).
Castroneves claimed his seventh career pole position and his third of the season, tying Kenny Brack of Team Rahal for series-high honors. His earlier poles came at Long Beach and Japan. Castroneves earned a championship point for the pole, which drew him to 70-48 of Brack for the championship lead.
Rookie Bruno Junqueira (Target Toyota Lola) of Target Chip Ganassi Racing qualified on the outside pole at 114.780 mph (1:13.581). He makes his second front-row start of the season, after winning the first pole position of his career at Nazareth.
De Ferran's third-place performance represented his third top-three qualifying result of the season. He also qualified third at Mexico and Japan.
Brack (Shell Ford Lola) qualified 10th at 113.062 mph (1:14.699). He will seek his third victory in a row Sunday, after claiming the first two of his career in the two most recent events at Japan and Milwaukee, respectively.
Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) of Team KOOL Green qualified fourth at 114.093 mph (1:14.024), followed by Jimmy Vasser (Visteon Toyota Lola) of Patrick Racing, who was fifth at 114.028 mph (1:14.066). Franchitti starts in the same position from which he drove to victory in 1999 while Vasser matches his season-best start, equaling fifth at Milwaukee.
Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit Qualifying
HELIO CASTRONEVES, Marlboro Honda Reynard: "It was very exciting. Gil and I work very well together, especially on street circuits. The car was really set up well, and right off the bat, I knew I had to do a good time, because Gil was right there. The car was handling good, and I believe there was still a couple tenths [of a second] in the car. I was pushing very hard, and it was enough. I'm very proud to be a part of Marlboro Team Penske. The track is getting better and better. One thing I know, I'm going to give 100 percent to do my best job tomorrow. My mentality is to make sure I do a good job and collect as many points as possible."
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA, Target Toyota Lola: "I think Team Target did a very good job again. When we started the first practice yesterday morning, the car was really bad. They changed the setup for the afternoon session [yesterday], and we continued to improve the car today. I'm very happy to be starting on the front row. I'm getting used to the Champ Car much faster than the cars I used to drive, but it's very easy to make a mistake. It's important to stay focused. I had a problem [in a test session] at Mid-Ohio and injured my back, but it was okay until this session. It really hurts now. I'm going to see the doctor so that I'm ready for the race tomorrow."
GIL de FERRAN, Marlboro Honda Reynard: "It was a good qualifying session. The car was obviously handling very well from this morning. It was very good on the first set of tires [in qualifying], and I was very happy with the car, so I just parked it and waited until there was ten minutes to go in the session. I did a good lap, and then I was on another good lap when the red flag came out. We went out at the end and just couldn't get a clear lap. On the first lap I got traffic, and on the second lap I messed up. It was a good session, it's just unfortunate that we got the red flag at the end. But that doesn't take anything away from Helio, he did a great job."
Honda Performance Development field a protest late Friday over the mandated use of the manifold pressure relief valve extension for all engine manufacturers at this weekend's Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit. The protest was unanimously denied by the protest judges of Championship Auto Racing Teams. The protest, which was heard by three CART judges, addressed six grievances regarding the mandated ¾-inch extension situated at the base of the manifold pressure relief valve, to reduce the potential influence of airflow upon the operation of the valve. The judges concluded that there was no basis under the rules for granting Honda Performance Development's protest and therefore, it was denied. HPD has three business days to file an appeal with CART regarding Friday's decision. The valves, which have a maximum allowable intake manifold pressure of 37 inches, are provided by CART to all competitors each race weekend. The manifold pressure relief valves are the property of CART and maintained by the sanctioning body.
Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard) of Marlboro Team Penske earned his seventh career pole position Saturday, and his fifth on a road or street course. His earlier poles came at Milwaukee in 1999; Portland, Toronto and Laguna Seca last year and Long Beach and Japan this season.
Bruno Junqueira (Target Toyota Lola) of Target Chip Ganassi Racing qualified on the outside pole and makes the best start of his rookie season on a road or street course. His previous best of 20th came at Mexico in the first start of his FedEx Championship Series career.
Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard) of Marlboro Team Penske qualified third, the fourth time in his past five starts at Detroit that he has qualified among the top four. He won the pole in 1997, started third in 1999 and fourth last year.
Tony Kanaan (Hollywood Honda Reynard) of Mo Nunn Racing was sent to Detroit Receiving Hospital for a precautionary CAT scan after complaining of headaches following Saturday's qualifying session. Kanaan made contact with the Turn 10 tire wall early in the session and was unable to continue following the incident.
CART 2Day will air 11 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2, while ABC-TV's live race broadcast begins 2 p.m. ET. Sunday's race will also air on the CART Radio Network and on CART's official website, at www.cart.com .