Driver quotes courtesy of Trackside -- http://www.trackside.com/ ...
Driver quotes courtesy of Trackside -- http://www.trackside.com/
#20 SCOTT PRUETT, Firestone-Patrick Racing Lola Ford Cosworth: "All the work we have done during the winter is paying off. The car is running real well, and the Firestone tires are great.''
"I was glad to see the rain. We came down here last year and it was new for everybody. It was new for Patrick Racing and it was new for Firestone. We spent a lot of the winter testing. We knew that we were somewhat behind on our street-course tire. We had a more confident start of the season this year. So far, so good. I'm leading the championship and we were quickest in both the sessions today. I couldn't ask for anything better.''
#6 MICHAEL ANDRETTI, Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Lola Ford Cosworth: "I'm very disappointed that it rained. I was ready to go for it. We made a change and went quicker on old tires. We came in, made another change, put new tires on and got ready to go out, and I saw raindrops on my visor. Mother Nature interfered.
"We knew Scott would be tough, because we tested with him at Sebring. I'll be surprised if we can better our time tomorrow, since qualifying is in mid-afternoon with the sun beating down. Scott might be looking pretty good. We're still in there. I think we'll have a good race car."
#2 AL UNSER JR., Marlboro Team Penske, Marlboro Penske Mercedes: "We never got my Marlboro car balanced and my qualifying time showed it. We have some ideas on how to make the car better, which we'll work on tonight. Hopefully, those changes will be in the right direction and we'll be able to improve our position tomorrow."
#17 MAURICIO GUGELMIN, Hollywood PacWest Reynard Ford Cosworth: "A suspension piece broke off from the gearbox towards the end of the session. Although it didn't come clean off until the end of the session, I think it affected the car for most of qualifying and I also think that it played a part in my spin. I never felt comfortable with the back end the whole session."
AL SPEYER, Firestone Motorsports Manager: "We are really pleased to see the efforts of our technology department and extensive off-season testing have provided great results for the Firestone teams. Firestone has been widely accepted as having the best tire for oval circuits and with excellent qualifying today, we are closer to our goal of having the best tire for all types of circuits. We are thrilled to have Scott out front and Andre third at this stage.''
#28 BRYAN HERTA, Shell Oil Reynard Mercedes-Benz: "We thought we had a better setup on the car but the session got shortened due to the rain. The reason we went out in the last minute was to complete a lap on a set of tires for the race. The rule reads that to start the race on a set of tires, you must have completed a lap on those tires during qualifying. That's the only reason we went back out on the track."
#3 PAUL TRACY, Marlboro Team Penske, Marlboro Penske Mercedes: "I'm pleased with the way we ran today. I think if we had a little more time in qualifying, we could've been in the top three. But, all in all, I think we did pretty good for our first day. It's just too bad that it rained. We should be able to make some more improvements for tomorrow and hopefully, move a little further up the grid."
#99 GREG MOORE, Player's/Indeck Reynard Mercedes-Benz: "It's a new track for me, and it's also a new track for my engineer, Steve Challis. We took the day to learn it, and the qualifying session was more a practice for me. We improved the car very much compared to this morning, and because of that, we were four seconds faster.
"It was my first qualifying session on a street course in IndyCar, but there is no difference with Indy Lights. You just have to go for it. I started the session slowly and things got better and better. The track is not difficult to drive. There are some tight turns and some bumps, but that's it. The traffic was never a problem. I was able to get clear laps.''
#31 ANDRE RIBEIRO, LCI International Lola Honda: "At the beginning of qualifying, we had to stop to adjust something on the pedals, so we lost a little bit of time, and I did brush the wall lightly and had to come in for a new tire. Overall, I am happy with the car we have now and our run this session. The car is very consistent."
#32 ADRIAN FERNANDEZ, Tecate Beer/Quaker State Lola Honda: "I hope we can change our luck. The car was okay, but we lost most of the session because of a broken header."
#5 ROBBY GORDON, Valvoline/Cummins/Craftsman Special Reynard Ford Cosworth: "We did the best we could pull off. We struggled a bit. The first half of the session was a little crazy because a few guys had problems with cars stalling and what-not. It got quite frustrating when they kept stopping the session. So, the first set of tires were almost junked. Then, on the second set, we finally got down to a decent lap. But we still have some more work to do."
#25 JEFF KROSNOFF, Arciero-Wells Racing Reynard Toyota: "We made some changes and the car felt better than it did this morning, but we never really got a chance to test it because on the third lap, the engine let go. It's unfortunate, because on a street circuit like this, you need to take advantage of every moment of track time that you are allowed. We were obligated to stop after the incident because if we had run our backup car, it would have disqualified our first car and we wouldn't have a backup car for tomorrow.''
#18 BOBBY RAHAL, Miller Racing Reynard Mercedes-Benz: "It feels great to be back in Australia. I think we have a good race car this weekend. But the car wasn't coming off the corners like I would have liked today. We have very good power, but the chassis wands to roll to one side or the other.
"Today's qualifying showed how competitive this series is. When I ran my quick lap (102.753 mph) with two minutes to go in the session, I was fifth. I thought I'd get one more lap and improve, but traffic held me up. So, I came back to the pits and I was eighth. It's really competitive."