By - David C. Schilke Burke Lakefront Airport - Cleveland, Ohio - The Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland is one of a kind. It is a temporary road course on an otherwise active airport. The airport is not closed until Friday morning and...
By - David C. Schilke
Burke Lakefront Airport - Cleveland, Ohio - The Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland is one of a kind. It is a temporary road course on an otherwise active airport. The airport is not closed until Friday morning and re-opens by six at night on Sunday. But for this weekend the cars own the runways. The circuit is 2.106 miles and offers wide run offs and almost no concrete walls like other temporary circuits. This set up allows the drivers to push their envelope and attempt passes that would be considered insane at a street circuit like Detroit or Long Beach. The open circuit is a great track for spectators as one can see much of the circuit from any of the grandstands on the front stretch. Cleveland might lack the character of elevation changes and winding through forests but it does have the reputation for speed and not all turns are 90 degrees. Turn one is about 160 degrees and is one of the most exciting first turns in CART. The cars have to go from five abreast to single file as they take the sharp right-handed turn.
Notes on Friday morning test session:
It is a very warm morning. The track temperature at the start of the morning session was 112 with ambient at 88 degrees. The conditions are hot and humid with a threat of rain sometime today.
Green flag for the morning practice/test session is waved at 11:45 am.
Around ten minuets into the session Alex Zanardi slides into the tire wall at turn seven. Zanardi is uninjured but the car has damage to it wings. Zanardi is bumped started and limps to the pits.
Scott Dixon spins and stalls on the track and causes the track to shut down at 11:56. He is assessed an eight minute delay-of-penalty for the spin and stall.
30 minuets into the session Dario Franchitti is fastest (126.558 mph) followed by Patrick Carpentier (126.125 mph).
Around 12:15 pm. the track is shut down for an apex cone that tried to cross the circuit.
Shinji Nakano brings out the red flag when he spins into the tire wall at turn four. Nakano was okay but the car had to be towed back.
After an hour into the session the fastest driver is Cristiano de Matta (127.757 mph) with Franchitti second quick (127.465 mph).
Five to one o'clock the course is shout down yet again for a rouge cone.
At 1:15 pm. Roberto Moreno hits the tire wall at turn 8. Moreno is okay but is out for the rest of this session.
Two minuets until the end Alex Tagliani spins and stalls off at turn 7. He sits the last two minuets out at the turn.
The session is ended at 1:30 pm. Da Matta clearly the fastest by increasing his speed to 128.709 mph. Paul Tracy is second fastest (127.867 mph) and third is de Ferran (127.664 mph).
Scott Dixon was the quickest at the speed trap at start and finish at 171.168 mph.
List of spin-and-continues (Never caused the track to be shut down):
Toranosuk Takagi at turn 3 Max Wilson spins twice at 3 and once at turn 4 in the session Shinji Nakano spins and continues at 4 Alex Zanardi lost it at turn 10 Scott Dixon spins at 4 Gil de Ferran spins at turn 6 Michel Jourdain Jr. also spun at turn 4 before the session was over.