CHAMPCAR/CART: Laguna Seca Saturday Practice report

Laguna Seca John Francis/MNI The Saturday morning practice session got under way promptly at 9:00am, with the temperature already at 75 degrees. Bryan Herta set the early fast time of the day, followed by Scott Pruett and Bobby Rahal.

Laguna Seca John Francis/MNI

The Saturday morning practice session got under way promptly at 9:00am, with the temperature already at 75 degrees. Bryan Herta set the early fast time of the day, followed by Scott Pruett and Bobby Rahal. Shortly after that Denis Vitolo was the first of many drivers to take an off- track excursion, spinning in turn 3 and stalling the car, bringing out the first red flag of the session. Shortly after the track went green Helio Castro-Neves spun at nearly the same place, but managed to keep the car under way. Five minutes later Arnd Meier was not so lucky, bringing out the second red flag when he spun in turn two.

When the cars came back on track Alex Zanardi wasted no time in setting a new fast time of the day, one tenth of a second faster than Herta. Provisional pole setter Dario Franchitti, trying to set a good time, was the first of a train of drivers to spin and recover, followed in the next few minutes by Richie Hearn, Robby Gordon, and Paul Tracy. Meanwhile Alex Barron had posted the third fastest lap of the session in Dan Gurney's new Eagle chassis (with Toyota power).

Scott Pruett, Michel Jourdain Jr. and Paul Tracy all had off-course excursions in the next fifteen minutes, but apart from that there was not much of note taking place. Then Paul Tracy had yet another spin (this time in turn eleven), bringing out another red flag. This time it was Bryan Herta who took advantage of a clear track when the green flag dropped, posting the best time of the day. The red flag came out again almost immediately, now for Helio Castro-Neves in turh two. The CART safety team soon had the car restarted, and the cars got under way once more. Almost immediately Jimmy Vasser had a spin in turn two, but managed to continue. JJ Lehto was not so lucky, and came to a stop in the middle of the track after a spin in turn four. The red flag waved yet again, and once more the CART safety workers restarted the car.

That was about all there was time for, as the checkered flag flew to end the morning session. The two fastest cars of the day belonged to Bryan Herta and Alex Zanardi, just as had been the case on Friday. This time, however, there was no wheel-banging in the corkscrew!

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby Gordon , Jimmy Vasser , Bobby Rahal , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Alex Zanardi , Bryan Herta , Scott Pruett , Richie Hearn , Alex Barron , Dan Gurney , Michel Jourdain , JJ Lehto