CART FedEx Championship Series points leader Gil de Ferran captured the pole position for Sunday's Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston in final qualifying today, besting provisional pole-sitter Dario Franchitti with a time of 58.757 seconds...
CART FedEx Championship Series points leader Gil de Ferran captured the pole position for Sunday's Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston in final qualifying today, besting provisional pole-sitter Dario Franchitti with a time of 58.757 seconds (93.558 mph) on the 1.527-mile temporary street circuit. It was de Ferran's fourth pole of the season and his third on a road course or temporary street circuit. With the one-point award for the pole, de Ferran holds a slim nine-point advantage over Roberto Moreno with 65 markers yet to be distributed in the final three races.
The bright spot Saturday for the Mercedes-Benz contingent was Tony Kanaan's top-10 qualifying performance. Kanaan was second fastest in the 25-car field in the morning practice session, and was only bumped from the top spot in the final seconds by Michael Andretti. In the afternoon qualifying session, Kanaan put together a chart-topping lap time of 59.228 seconds (92.814 mph) on his sixth lap before sliding to 10th place as the session neared its completion. Despite fresh tires for his final attempt, Kanaan was unable to improve his grid position. Still, it was the best road-course qualifying result for the Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing team in its first season of competition.
"The car was very quick today," said Kanaan, who finished third in this race as a Champ Car rookie in 1998. "On my hot lap, I looked at the dash display and it showed that my lap time was two-tenths quicker, which would have put us further up, maybe in the top six. But with two corners to go, I was badly blocked by another car. Today was one of those days when we had a good car but there was something that was beyond our control. Blocking and the weather are two things you can't control on race weekend."
The PacWest Racing team with the driving duo of Mark Blundell and Mauricio Gugelmin struggled to find a quick set-up for their race cars. Blundell will start 20th (60.338 seconds/91.107 mph), and Gugelmin will start 21st (60.359 seconds/91.075 mph). Michel Jourdain Jr. lapped the circuit in 60.963 seconds (90.173 mph) and qualified 24th. Luiz Garcia Jr. turned in a time of 63.019 seconds (87.231 mph) and will start 25th.
<pre> Final Qualifying, Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix Houston, Texas Sept. 30, 2000
Pos Driver Engine Time (sec) Speed (mph) 1 Gil de Ferran Honda 58.757 93.558 2 Dario Franchitti Honda 58.843 93.421 3 Jimmy Vasser Toyota 58.844 93.420 4 Helio Castroneves Honda 58.846 93.417 5 Michael Andretti Ford Cosworth 58.909 93.317 6 Juan Montoya Toyota 58.961 93.235 7 Christian Fittipaldi Ford Cosworth 59.131 92.966 8 Alex Tagliani Ford Cosworth 59.150 92.937 9 Paul Tracy Honda 59.223 92.822 10 Tony Kanaan Mercedes-Benz 59.228 92.814 20 Mark Blundell Mercedes-Benz 60.338 91.107 21 Mauricio Gugelmin Mercedes-Benz 60.359 91.075 24 Michel Jourdain Jr. Mercedes-Benz 60.963 90.173 25 Luiz Garcia Jr. Mercedes-Benz 63.019 87.231