CHAMPCAR/CART: Mexico City: Friday qualifying quoteboard

AJ Allmendinger ...

AJ Allmendinger #10 Intel Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "I really didn't know what to do with the tires, either go with the black or the red and I was going to stick with the black tires, but once I saw Mario go out there on the red and he put up a lap, that was quicker than myself on the blacks and I was really worried about Paul since he was just a touch quicker than me with the black tires, and once I saw him go on the red, I knew I had to switch to have any chance at all. The car was amazing on the red tires. I think I could have been quicker on the second lap, once we got after that, the car was just smooth as can be. I think we need to work on the black tires a little bit, get the car a little bit more stable and quicker for the race. But overall, I am pleased."

Paul Tracy #3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "I was planning to continue our strategy of setting the fastest lap and then crashing to end the session since it worked so well during the first two practice sessions (laughter). We made a couple of changes that seemed to pay off and we were looking good when I went out for the second stint, but I came out right behind Cristiano da Matta and lost a bit of time from the turbulence off his car. I backed off to gain some room but then the Red came out. You really need to catch the tires at their optimum point to set a really fast time here and today we didn't get the best out of our Bridgestones. The car is quick and I think both Mario and I are going to be right there for Pole."

Mario Dominguez #7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "I guess we have to be pretty happy with the way the session went. The #7 car was very quick on both the regular Bridgestone tires and the Reds (alternate soft tire). I was quickest in the first stint and thought we had a really good shot at the pole but it was too bad the Red Flag came out just as I was starting my quick laps during the second stint. We made a small change and I think it was going to give us the balance over the bumps that we needed. But we're looking good for tomorrow and the track should be a bit quicker, so I'm pretty optimistic that we're going to be in the hunt for the pole."

Jimmy Vasser #12 Gulfstream/PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "It was a reasonably good qualifying session for the Gulfsteam/PKV Racing team. We still have some work to do if we want to qualify on the first two rows, but fortunately, I still have two sets of the alternate red tire, which are quicker, for tomorrow's final qualifying session. The thing for the Gulfstream/PKV Racing team is that two of the drivers that I am competing with for fifth place in the standings are ahead of me on the provisional grid and A. J. (Allmendinger) got the provisional pole and scored a point. It would be nice to return the favor tomorrow and move back to within one point of fifth place in the standings."

Sebastien Bourdais #1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "We weren't able to get the most out of the McDonald's car today. We only got two fast laps during the whole session. The red flags came out each time I ran my first flyer. On the first run I was exiting Turn 16 and the red came out and the lap was a 1:27.9 which would have been good enough for pole at the time. The second time I got one lap in, I was 5/10th up until Turn 6 then I messed up and it turned out to be my last lap because the red came out again and the session ended. The car was actually good. It wasn't so good this morning but the grip level came up in the afternoon and the car was much better. Pretty much everyone ahead of us used a set of the alternate Bridgestone tires and we didn't so we have two sets to use in final qualifying."

Oriol Servia #2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "The timing of the red flags hurt us and we were only able to get two flying laps in during the session. The car was pretty good. Last year I was able to get my best qualifying of the season but I have always struggled at this track. Surfer's suits me 100 percent and so does Montreal but this track has always been difficult for me. I think tomorrow the PacifiCare team will be in decent shape though. On my first run, Glock spun right in front of me and brought out the red and on the second lap I just did one lap as well. I think there is more in the car, more in me. We're making progress and getting there. We also didn't run the red Bridgestone tires like the frontrunners did so there is more speed from that area as well."

Andrew Ranger #27 Tide/Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "It is good to be the quickest rookie here in my first visit," said Ranger. "I love this track, and the esses are really incredible. The car was pretty good, and I was really pushing to get a good qualifying spot but I just lost it when I hit a bump, so that unfortunately ended the session for us. At least my next fastest lap was good enough for the top ten and I know we can keep improving tomorrow."

Will Power #5 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "The track here in Mexico is really good and very fast -- it is a lot like a European style circuit. I like it a lot because the track is very technical and extremely challenging. I am still learning the track and I am sure I am going to get better and better as the weekend progresses. The team has saved both sets of the faster red Bridgestone tires -- I think that is a great idea because the track is going to get a lot of rubber on it over the weekend and will be a lot faster tomorrow. We will look to make a couple of changes tomorrow and try and improve again. There is a bit of time in the car to come, a bit in the driver and lot more in the red tires. Looking at the quick times today, they were all set on those tires so I am looking forward to rest of the weekend."

Timo Glock #8 DHL Global Mail Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "This morning was difficult, there was no grip on the track and the car was not real good. However, we made some good changes to the DHL Global Mail car and we are going in the right direction. That is good; it gives me, my engineer David Watson, and my Rocketsports team confidence for tomorrow's qualifying and on race day. We saved tires for tomorrow, using only one set of stickers this afternoon, which will be to our advantage tomorrow afternoon."

Alex Tagliani #15 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "The plan today was to only run one set of tires and make sure we have plenty of new rubber for the race on Sunday. Tomorrow we will give ourselves a little more time and will be able to have a go on the red Bridgestones which seemed to be a lot quicker today.We now will be able to start the race on new tires and run new rubber all the way through the race which will be a big advantage.The standard Bridgestones were good but we saw today the red tires are amazingly fast. Tomorrow will be a big bonus to be able to run two sets of reds."

Nelson Philippe #34 Wellbox Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "We had a really good car, but when I switched to the red (option tires) to go out for a final run, there were several cars ahead so I backed off to get a gap, and when I went to set a time, I didn't get to finish the lap because of the red flag," said Philippe. "It is disappointing because the Wellbox car is very good and I think we could have been in the top five today had we been able to get the lap in. But, we will get another chance tomorrow, and I really feel like we should be strong in the race as well."

Cristiano Da Matta #21 Bell Micro/PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "It was a difficult day for the Bell Micro/PKV Racing team. We had a big problem with the wastegate starting in morning practice and that is robbing my engine of power. The Bell Micro/PKV Racing team has some work to do tonight, but I am confident that we will be much quicker in final qualifying tomorrow and can move up on the final starting grid."

Rodolfo Lavin #55 CTE-HVM Inc. Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "I don't think our results today are a good representation of where we are at. The red flag got us there at the end, but our strategy was to save our best resources, both sets of the Bridgestone Alternate red tires for tomorrow. The team has done a good job preparing the car, the set-up feels good, we will continue with small tweaks but that is about it. It feels great to be back in Mexico City with the Corona car."

Michael McDowell #31 Commercial Defeasance Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "Well we are not where we want to be on the timing and scoring charts, but we are working on it. The Rocketsports car has been improving during each session we did today, we just need to gain some speed and I need to gain just a little more confidence out there. But I think things are going well. We will sit down and analyze our results from today, in an effort to make the car go quicker tomorrow and qualify in the top ten for the starting grid."

Charles Zwolsman #25 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "The session was pretty good and I and starting to feel pretty comfortable in the car. Unfortunately I lost my fastest time for crossing over the white line on the straight which cost me a couple of positions. We didn't use the red tires today so I am sure there is plenty of time to come. I am starting to get more out of the car but I am sure there is more time to come from the driver. The Team Australia guys are starting to make me more comfortable in the car but I still have a couple of bruises from yesterday when the seat and the belts weren't quite right. I love the track here -- the layout is just fantastic. The bumps do make it a little tough and without them the esses would be absolutely brilliant."

Homero Richards #50 NEXTEL Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "It was a good day for me, we were able to get a lot of trouble free laps in and I learned a lot today. I now have my first day in the Champ Car in the books and the car feels good. Every lap I get more and more comfortable and I think we will have a good day in the NEXTEL car tomorrow."

-ccws-

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Series INDYCAR