MIAMI (October 5, 2002) - Tony Kanaan turned five laps in his Honda-powered race car today, all of them in this morning practice session. During this afternoon's qualifying session, Kanaan watched from the sidelines as drivers skated around the...
MIAMI (October 5, 2002) - Tony Kanaan turned five laps in his Honda-powered race car today, all of them in this morning practice session. During this afternoon's qualifying session, Kanaan watched from the sidelines as drivers skated around the rain slick 1.387-mile downtown circuit.
Tony Kanaan earned his third career pole after turning the best lap of the weekend in Friday's provisional qualifying session. With today's final qualifying session for Sunday's Grand Prix Americas declared wet, Kanaan's team decided to sit it out.
"I wanted to run," said Kanaan, "but obviously they didn't let me. I think it was a smart decision. If I was going out I would try to go a quick as I could."
Jokingly, Kanaan told his team owner Morris Nunn, "I could have gone to the beach."
Everyone but Kanaan turned laps during today's wet session with Scott Dixon topping the charts with a lap at 1:09.786. Although Dixon earns a championship point for the best lap of the session, he will start second based on his time from Friday.
When qualifying is declared wet, the rules limiting drivers to 12 laps are dropped and Dixon took full advantage of the situation, turning 18 laps. "It was big improvement pretty much every lap. That's basically why we stayed out. You keep going and staying on top of the charts every lap and that's what we were trying to do."
Totally drenched at the start of qualifying, the track started to dry out with seven minutes remaining. Standing water, mostly at turn six, was the biggest problem this afternoon.
Despite the drying track, Kanaan was confident the lap times wouldn't drop low enough to threaten his pole position. "They never declared a dry session so if Scott could do my lap time with the rain tire, I wouldn't race tomorrow. I would stay home."
With the times from Friday's session setting the grid for Sunday's race, Tora Tagaki will start third, his career best qualifying effort after starting fourth at England three weeks ago.
When asked about the rain today, Tagaki said, "I was lucky." In the rain soaked session today, Tagaki was 12th fastest at 1:12.188. In the morning practice he was eighth.
Paul Tracy, who set the third fastest practice lap of the event, continued to struggle through qualifying. Tracy spun in today's wet session. His Friday time places him 16th on the grid. If Tracy gets his car back in the form it was on Friday morning when he turned a lap at 1:01.620, he may come from the back of the pack, providing the most entertaining drive of the day.