CHAMPCAR/CART: Gold Coast Team KOOL Green Saturday Qualifying Report

FRANCHITTI WINS POLE AND TRACY FOURTH ON THE GRID SURFERS PARADISE, Australia, (Oct. 17, 1998) - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti won his fifth pole position of the season with a blistering lap of 1:32.288, an average speed of 109.028 mph ...

FRANCHITTI WINS POLE AND TRACY FOURTH ON THE GRID

SURFERS PARADISE, Australia, (Oct. 17, 1998) - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti won his fifth pole position of the season with a blistering lap of 1:32.288, an average speed of 109.028 mph around the 2.795-mile street circuit.

Franchitti set a new track record in stealing the pole from provisional winner Alex Zanardi, whose time of 1:32.310 from yesterday was good enough to hold on to second on the grid. The Scotsman also earned a single point for winning the pole to total 144, inching to within four points of Jimmy Vasser (148), who is currently second in the overall championship.

Franchitti's fifth pole is more than any other driver this season, having previously earned the top-spot in Brazil, Toronto, Mid-Ohio and Vancouver. It's also Franchitti's fourth consecutive front-row start and ninth in 18 races this season.

Today's qualifying is the best ever for Team KOOL Green, as Paul Tracy qualified with the fourth-fastest time of 1:32.583 (108.681 mph). Tracy matched his best starting position of the season from the last race in Houston. Tracy is joined on the second row by third-place qualifier Christian Fittipaldi.

The 65-lap Honda Indy will be on ESPN via tape-delay on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN REYNARD/HONDA/FIRESTONE: (1st with a lap-time of 1:32.288 / 109.028 mph)

"It was a wild lap. I was sliding around in the KOOL car and a little out of control in some places, but I got the job done. I braked too late in some corners and didn't brake late enough in one corner. I got off the brakes, got some speed and hammered the curb, but I made it around!

"We have a good race setup. The car is more turned for racing than qualifying with the way we've got it setup at the moment. So, I'm looking forward to tomorrow. The key to winning will be survival, keeping the car on the track, not getting caught up in anybody else's accident, saving the tires and having a good strategy."

PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN REYNARD/HONDA/FIRESTONE: (4th with a lap-time of 1:32.583 / 108.681 mph)

"The KOOL car was very good, but I'm mad at myself for losing a little time in the first chicane on the back straight. But, I can't complain. We've got a good starting position, which is critical on this track. It's a long race and getting good fuel mileage and conserving your tires will be important. A key to finishing up front will be, if you can, to cut a few fast laps, while everybody else is in the pits."

BARRY GREEN, TEAM KOOL GREEN OWNER:

"I've said before that we've had the luck of winning the Indy 500 and some other great races, but if Team KOOL Green can win this one, it will be very special. Not just for the team and my family, but for all Aussies who have supported this team and this race. So I'd like to ask everyone else to back off tomorrow and let that happen. But it's going to be a street fight tomorrow and I think we've got a great chance. We've done an excellent job in qualifying, first and fourth. Now we'll focus on finishing the job tomorrow."

------------------------ Internet Access Australia------------------------ --- IAA is MNI's ISP of choice at the '98 Gold Coast Indy --- ---- Melbourne -- Tel. 03 9686 6677 -- Fax 03 9686 6644 ----- ------------------ http://www.iaccess.com.au ---------------------

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Christian Fittipaldi , Dario Franchitti , Alex Zanardi