Gil de Ferran "We had a successful day for two reasons. First, we gave ourselves an advantage by qualifying on the pole. Starting up front is always important on a tight street circuit like this where it is difficult to pass. Second, we earned...
Gil de Ferran
"We had a successful day for two reasons. First, we gave ourselves an advantage by qualifying on the pole. Starting up front is always important on a tight street circuit like this where it is difficult to pass. Second, we earned a point towards the Championship (one point is awarded for the pole), and every single point is extremely important given the tight battle (de Ferran is second with 142 points, five points behind leader Kenny Brack).
For me, today was a matter of being able to put a good lap together and avoiding traffic which was a major issue this morning. The Marlboro car has been good since yesterday. We've just made little changes here and there to improve the handling. We're taking it one step at a time. Today is finished and now we have to focus on executing tomorrow."
"We were looking very strong today and the Marlboro car was handling well -- we just needed a little more time to work on the set-up this morning. We had some mechanical problems to deal with and when we came back out we only had 25 minutes left in the practice session. We still had a very good car for qualifying, and I thought we were right there. As the qualifying session went on, the track improved and we were getting faster, but unfortunately I got caught in traffic and wasn't able to get in a final fast lap at the end. We qualified well (fourth) and I'm confident we'll be in good shape for the race tomorrow."
Marlboro Team Penske Notes:
* This is Gil de Ferran's fourth pole of the season and his second consecutive pole in Houston. He's now won the pole in three of the last six races - Mid-Ohio, Germany and Houston. He also won the pole in Toronto.
· De Ferran has 15 career Champ Car poles and is in second place in all-time career poles among active drivers (Michael Andretti is first with 32 poles).
· Of his 15 CART career poles, de Ferran has scored 11 of them on temporary/road circuits (Cleveland - 1995; Long Beach - 1996, 1997 and 2000; Detroit - 1997; Toronto - 1999 and 2001; Mid-Ohio - 2000 and 2001; Houston 2000 and 2001).
· De Ferran has qualified on the front row five times this season (Toronto, Mid-Ohio, Germany, England and Houston) and started in the top-five ten times.
· This season de Ferran has completed 98% of the laps run on temporary/road circuits.
· Marlboro Team Penske has started in the top-three in eight of the ten temporary/road circuits run this season including poles at Long Beach, Detroit, Toronto, Mid-Ohio and Houston.
· In 2001, Marlboro Team Penske has had seven podium finishes on temporary/road circuits including victories at Long Beach, Detroit and Mid-Ohio where Castroneves and de Ferran finished 1-2 respectively.
· Of the 729 laps run on temporary/road circuits this year, Marlboro Team Penske drivers led 324 (44%).
· Last season, Marlboro Team Penske had six poles and eight podium finishes at the 11 temporary/road circuits including de Ferran's pole and third place finish in Houston.
· This is the 134th pole for Team Penske.