CHAMPCAR/CART: Mexico City: Honda Friday qualifying report

Franchitti runs third in Mexico City. Dario Franchitti was the quickest of the Honda-powered field in first round qualifying today for Sunday's Grand Premio Telmex-Gigante, posting the third fastest time around the newly-reopened Circuit...

Franchitti runs third in Mexico City.

Dario Franchitti was the quickest of the Honda-powered field in first round qualifying today for Sunday's Grand Premio Telmex-Gigante, posting the third fastest time around the newly-reopened Circuit Hermanos Rodrieguez in Mexico City.

Formerly the site of the Mexican Grand Prix and several Champ Car races in the 1970s and '80s, the 2.78-mile road course has been completely rebuilt for the final race in the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series. An estimated 300,000 fans are expected to attend over the course of the race weekend.

Unfortunately, local favorite Adrian Fernandez did not receive medical clearance to drive in his hometown event, as he is still suffering from back injuries sustained in the crash at the Australian race three weeks ago. Instead, Atlantic-series graduate Luis Diaz is making his Champ Car debut in place of Fernandez and ran 17th in opening round qualifying today. Tony Kanaan also had a strong outing today, running fifth fastest, with Paul Tracy seventh. Shinji Nakano finished the day 11th overall while Michael Andretti was 13th.

Dario Franchitti (#27 Team KOOL Green Honda) Qualified 3rd: "This is an awesome place, a very challenging circuit made up of three distinct parts. First, you have the tight and twisty section from turns one through three, then the fabulous 'esses' that just keep getting faster and faster as you go through them, and finally the area through the (baseball) stadium. It's a real challenge for both the driver and the engineer to get everything right. Today, my qualifying lap was at the limit of the car. It looked like it was going to rain, so I did my time in the middle of the session. That might have been a mistake, since it didn't really rain very much and Bruno (Junqueira) made his run right at the end. But we'll try again tomorrow."

-honda-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Adrian Fernandez , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Shinji Nakano , Luis Diaz