CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach Saturday Qualifying Report

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach 17 April 1999 Saturday Qualifying Report by Alan Perry, Motorsports News International The qualifying is done in two sessions, the first being the slower cars from the Friday qualifying. P J Jones was the...

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach 17 April 1999

Saturday Qualifying Report by Alan Perry, Motorsports News International

The qualifying is done in two sessions, the first being the slower cars from the Friday qualifying.

P J Jones was the first to complete a lap. A batch of cars went out and immediately started improving on their times from yesterday. Pruett, Jourdain, Castro-Neves and Marquez all made good improvement, but the real standouts were da Matta who moved up to 5th and de Ferran who got 3rd, then topped the board. After all of the scrambling, the order from the first group was de Ferran, da Matta, Gugelmin, Castro-Neves, Pruett, Jones, Marquez, Jones and the rest.

Then the session settled down. A few cars went out and even fewer improved their times. As the session headed to its end, more cars made attempts to improve their times, but few succeeded. Jones went from 7th and then to 4th. da Matta moved up to 6th. de Ferran improved his hold on 1st.

The session ended early when Salles hit the tires in turn four. The red flag came out and the track could not be cleared before time ran out.

Out of the first group cars, the order was de Ferran, Gugelmin, Jones, da Matta, Castro-Neves, Marquez, Pruett, Gordon, Barron, Jourdain, Hearn, Salles, Hattori and Garcia.

But the faster group of cars were still to run.

They started with ... Well, they started with no one. It was a couple minutes before the first car went out and it was Fernandez. Then the cars started taking to the track. Except for Franchitti (driving his backup car after his accident in the morning session) and Montoya.

The session followed the standard, a bunch of cars go out and set fast times, then it gets quiet, then they try again. The first driverr to beat de Ferran's fast time from the first group was Herta. Papis moved up to 3rd, got knocked down a spot by Herta, then took 3rd again. For Tracy, it was 7th, then 3rd. Montoya made no improvement, then got 2nd. Moore 12th, then 10th. Fittipaldi 9th, then 4th. Kanaan 12th, then 4th. Get the idea. By the time it settled down the order of the second group was Herta, Montoya, Franchitti, Kanaan, Tracy, Fittipaldi, Papis and the rest.

Then it went quiet. Vasser put in a time worth 9th, then 7th. Max got 6th and Blundell 9th. Oh, and Kanaan took pole position. But, besides that, it was pretty quiet. After a bit, cars started taking to the track again, but there wasn't much improvement in the times. Moore moved up to 6th, Fernandez 9th and Papis 4th. The expect shoot-out at the end of the session was getting set up (except for Franchitti who didn't think he could get more from his tires).

Then with three minutes to go, the engine on Fittipaldi's car shut off in the hairpin and the car blocked the track. The obligatory red flag for the session came out. The car was removed and the session restarted with around a minute and a half to go. Blundell, Herta and Papis made a run for it, particularly Papis. But, in the end, there was no improvement and McDonald's was on pole for tomorrow's race.

All of the cars did better today than they did on Friday.

The final qualifying order was Kanaan, Franchitti, Herta, Papis, Montoya, Fernandez, de Ferran, Moore, Vasser, Tracy, Fittipaldi, Blundell, Andretti, Gugelmin, Jones, da Matta, Carpentier, Castro-Neves, Marquez, Pruett, Gordon, Barron, Jourdain, Hearn, Salles, Hattori and Garcia.

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Series IndyCar