Laguna Seca (September 11, 1998) - Alex Zanardi, who currently is on probation, will be excluded from today's provisional pole qualifying by CART Chief Steward Wally Dallenbach for unjustifiable risk during this morning's practice session.
Zanardi (Target Reynard Honda) made contact with Bryan Herta (Shell Reynard Ford) in the corkscrew section after the checkered flag was waved to signal the end the session. After reviewing the tapes and interviewing both drivers involved, Dallenbach said that Zanardi's actions represented unjustifiable risk, which is referred to in section 8:13 of the CART Rule Book. The penalty will be exclusion from provisional pole qualifying which begins at 2:30 p.m. PT.
Zanardi will be able to return to competition for Saturday's morning practice at 9 a.m. PT and final qualifying which begins at 12:45 p.m. PT.
"After the checkered flag was displayed, the #1 car [Zanardi] attempted to overtake the #8 car [Herta] in the corkscrew and it resulted in contact," Dallenbach said. "It was a risky and unnecessary move by the #1 car and it resulted in damage to both cars."
Zanardi, who clinched the FedEx Championship Series crown last week in Vancouver, was placed on probation Aug. 9 following the Miller Lite 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. He was placed on probation and given a $50,000 fine for unjustifiable risk in two separate race incidents.
This is the second time this season that Dallenbach has excluded a driver from a portion of the weekend's competition. Paul Tracy, who also was on probation at the time, was excluded from Saturday's final pole qualifying at Portland after an incident with Michel Jourdain Jr. during the previous day's provisional pole qualifying on June 19. Tracy's earlier discipline marked the first time in CART history that a driver was excluded from competition by the Chief Steward for a rules infraction.
Source: CART Online