CHAMPCAR/CART: Gold Coast Saturday Morning Notes

Saturday 17 October 1998 Greg Moore Goes Fastest in Saturday Morning Practice Christine Hogan - Motorsport News International An eventful warm-up session started off the action at Surfers Paradise today. The day started clear and warm, and...

Saturday 17 October 1998

Greg Moore Goes Fastest in Saturday Morning Practice Christine Hogan - Motorsport News International

An eventful warm-up session started off the action at Surfers Paradise today. The day started clear and warm, and promised to continue to heat up. At the start of the 75-minute practice session, at 9 am this morning, the track temperature was 108F, and the air temperature was 76F.

Early in the session, Adrian Fernandez slowed dramatically between turns 2 and 3 and went directly to the pits having experienced brake problems. Bobby Rahal had a minor incident at turn 9 when he slid into the runoff, but he continued with no damage to the car. The early session leader is Christian Fittipaldi on 1:35.829 followed by Greg Moore (1:35.926) and Bryan Herta (1:36.167).

The first red flag of the session came out after 12 minutes when Helio Castro-Neves destroys the left side of his car in turn 7. The corner workers pulled the car to safety and the session re-started as Castro-Neves made his way back to the pits to finish the session is his second car.

Twenty minutes into the session, Bryan Herta and Jimmy Vasser have overtaken Christian Fittipaldi with lap times of 1:34.562, and 1:35.102, respectively. A few minutes later Herta makes light contact with the tire wall at turn 1, but continues on track with no change in pace. Max Papis was less fortunate and pitted after making contact at turn 7.

The red flag came out again at 9:37 am after JJ Lehto hit the tire wall at turn 3. He continued to his pit area, but the wall needed to be rebuilt. The session resumed after just 3 minutes with Christian Fittipaldi in the lead again with what was to be his best time of the session, 1:34.121. That time put him ahead of Michael Andretti (1:34.400) and Gil de Ferran (1:34.411).

There was another 3 minute pause in the action minutes later as Michel Jourdain, Jr. slid into the run-off at turn 3 and stalled. He pitted after the corner workers got the car re-started. During the following 11 minutes of running under green Gil de Ferran improved his position to second, passing Andretti with a 1:34.385. Dennis Vitolo and Alex Barron had minor incidents at turns 8 and 2 respectively, but both continued on track with no apparent damage.

Bryan Herta caused another 3 minute stoppage just before the 60-minute mark by stalling on-course just before the entrance to the pit lane. Dario Franchitti had closed the gap to Christian Fittipaldi to within .082 seconds with Michael Andretti just .031 behind, in his secondary car. In the following laps, Greg Moore beat Christian Fittipaldi's time with a 1:33.851, and became the only person to go below 1:34.000. Dario Franchitti moved up into third place, ahead of Michael Andretti, with 1:34.203.

Mark Blundell caused the fifth red flag of the session when he spun off into the run-off at turn 9 and had to be restarted by the marshals. He continued to the pit area with a flat left rear tire. The session was restarted quickly but was stopped again by a red flag followed by the checkered flag just 3 minute later. Helio Castro-Neves slid across the chicane at turn 2 damaging the left rear suspension after hitting the guard rail. This was the second car that he damaged in the morning practice, and he walked back to the pits looking dejected knowing that his chances of participating in qualifying this afternoon were slim.

The session concluded with Greg Moore fastest, followed by Christian Fittipaldi and Dario Franchitti.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Max Papis , Adrian Fernandez , Bobby Rahal , Christian Fittipaldi , Dario Franchitti , Bryan Herta , Mark Blundell , Alex Barron , Greg Moore , JJ Lehto