CHAMPCAR/CART: Mercedes Detroit Race Report

Race: ITT Automotive Detroit Grand Prix, The Raceway at Belle Isle, Detroit Date/Session: Sun., June 7, 1998 Race Report Mercedes Driver Greg Moore Remains Second in Points After Fifth-Place Finish at Detroit Grand Prix ...

Race: ITT Automotive Detroit Grand Prix, The Raceway at Belle Isle, Detroit Date/Session: Sun., June 7, 1998 Race Report

Mercedes Driver Greg Moore Remains Second in Points After Fifth-Place Finish at Detroit Grand Prix

Greg Moore finished fifth in the ITT Automotive Detroit Grand Prix today to maintain his second-place position in the CART FedEx Championship point standings.

Moore started on pole and lead the race strongly until the first round of pit stops, when series-points leader Alex Zanardi took the top spot with a quick stop. Moore followed Zanardi until the second round of pit stops, but the Player's/Forsythe team had difficulty fueling Moore's car and he fell further in the field. He gained 10 valuable championship points for his fifth-place finish, plus one point for winning the pole. Meanwhile, Zanardi cruised to his third win of the season and extended his lead to 17 points over Moore.

CART rookie driver Helio Castro-Neves drove a steady race to finish 12th and maintain his lead in the rookie driver standings. He now has 29 points, two more than Kanaan. Castro-Neves' solid performance included a lap of 76.466 seconds, second only to Zanardi's fastest lap of the race of 76.280 seconds.

Chassis and gearbox problems plagued most of the Mercedes-powered teams. Moore's teammate Patrick Carpentier fought handling problems to finish 15th, still on the lead lap, while Marlboro Team Penske's Andre Ribeiro finished 16th, one lap down from the leader.

JJ Lehto retired on lap 17 with handling problems, while Al Unser Jr. suffered gearbox trouble and retired on lap 46. Mark Blundell fought an ill-handling car for 56 laps until striking the wall.

The next round of the CART FedEx Championship Series is in Portland, Ore., June 21

Mercedes-Benz Driver Quotes

Greg Moore, No. 99, Player's/Forsythe Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone - Fifth "I'm disappointed because we didn't capitalize on the pole position. At least we still got points for our fifth-place finish and our pole. We had a fueling problem on our last stop. I'm not exactly sure what went wrong. We'll have to go back and look at the data and see where we can improve for our next race. We've tested well at Portland, so hopefully we can do well there."

Helio Castro-Neves, No. 16, Team Alumax Reynard/Mercedes/Goodyear - 12th "This team is awesome! We gained one position on each of our pit stops. The engine was very good today. I'm happy we're still leading the rookie standings and I'm looking forward to Portland."

Patrick Carpentier, No. 33, Player's/Forsythe Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone - 15th "After a few laps the front end started to go away on the car and it went into a big push. We would change tires and it would get better for a few laps, but then it would go into a big push again."

Andre Ribeiro, No. 3, Marlboro Team Penske/Mercedes/Goodyear - 16th "We had a lot of problems during practice and qualifying this weekend which put us in the back of the pack at the start. I think if we had a better starting position we would have been right there in the end. Today was a big boost of confidence for everyone on the team because we've proven that the Marlboro car is competitive on road courses."

Mauricio Gugelmin, No. 17, Hollywood/Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone - 19th "I think that was the hardest race of my life. The car was just crashing up and down over the bumps. The car was really difficult to drive with no traction. We're going to go road course testing this week and we're not going to leave until we get this fixed. We're going through a bad period, but we have the capability of getting out of it." Mark Blundell, No. 18, Motorola/Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone - 22nd "During the race the car was not ideal. (It had) a lot of push. Then the throttle began to stick. I was about to bring it in before I was downshifting for turn six and it just snapped out. I have confidence in my guys and confidence in myself -- we'll get this turned around." Al Unser Jr., No. 2, Marlboro Team Penske/Mercedes/Goodyear - 24th "Today was one of those days. The Marlboro car was running very well early in the race, but unfortunately the gearbox ended up going away on me. We initially lost fourth gear, and the other gears went after that. The car is a good car. I'm looking forward to the race in Portland."

JJ Lehto, No. 9, Hogan Racing Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone - 26th "Our problem today was handling. It was better to bring the car home in one piece rather than put it into the wall. We still have high expectations for the season. It will come. We just needed to park it today because we weren't competitive."

Race Results, Detroit Grand Prix The Raceway at Belle Isle, Detroit June 7, 1998

         Pos   Driver                Chassis / Engine / Tires        Laps
          1   Alex Zanardi            Reynard/Honda/Firestone         72
          2   Adrian Fernandez        Reynard/Ford/Firestone          72
          3   Gil de Ferran           Reynard/Honda/Goodyear          72
          4   Dario Franchitti        Reynard/Honda/Firestone         72
          5   Greg Moore              Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone      72
          6   Jimmy Vasser            Reynard/Honda/Firestone         72
          7   Paul Tracy              Reynard/Honda/Firestone         72
          8   Tony Kanaan             Reynard/Honda/Firestone         72
          9   Scott Pruett            Reynard/Ford/Firestone          72
         10   Michael Andretti        Swift/Ford/Goodyear             72
         12   Helio Castro-Neves      Reynard/Mercedes/Goodyear       72
         15   Patrick Carpentier      Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone      72
         16   Andre Ribeiro           Penske/Mercedes/Goodyear        71
         19   Mauricio Gugelmin       Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone      71
         22   Mark Blundell           Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone      56
         24   Al Unser Jr.            Penske/Mercedes/Goodyear        46
         26   JJ Lehto                Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone      17
                                
PPG Cup Rankings:  Zanardi 113     Manufacturer's Rankings:  Honda    149
                   Moore    96                        Ford-Cosworth   123
                   Vasser   80                        Mercedes-Benz   118
                   Fernandez 5                        Toyota          10
                                

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Adrian Fernandez , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Alex Zanardi , Tony Kanaan , Mauricio Gugelmin , Scott Pruett , Mark Blundell , Andre Ribeiro , Greg Moore , Al Unser , JJ Lehto
Teams Team Penske