CHAMPCAR/CART: Mexico City: Team Kool Green Friday qualifying report

Franchitti 2nd in provisional qualifying in Mexico City. MEXICO CITY - The battle today for provisional pole for Sunday's CART season finale was a heated one, and Team KOOL Green driver Dario Franchitti was in the thick of the action. In the...

Franchitti 2nd in provisional qualifying in Mexico City.

MEXICO CITY - The battle today for provisional pole for Sunday's CART season finale was a heated one, and Team KOOL Green driver Dario Franchitti was in the thick of the action. In the end, Franchitti was edged out in the final moments of the session but still retained a spot in the top three. Today's qualifying, run in very light intermittent rain, could prove even more critical for CART FedEx Championship drivers if predicted showers materialize for tomorrow afternoon's final qualifying for the Gran Premio Telmex Gigante.

Franchitti held the pole several times throughout the session, but Bruno Junqueira came away with the top spot after posting a lap of 1:25.941 / 116.703 mph, ensuring himself a front-row start for Sunday's 73-lap race on the 2.786-mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Christian Fittipaldi sits second with a lap of 1:26.027 / 116.587 mph, followed by Franchitti, whose fast lap was 1:26.147 / 116.424 mph. TKG teammate Paul Tracy struggled early in the session, but rallied to seventh place at the end (1:26.971 / 115.321 mph). Technical partner Michael Andretti sits 13th (1:27.355 / 114.814 mph).

Saturday's Champ Car schedule begins with practice from 10:00 - 11:15 a.m., followed by final qualifying from 1:45 - 2:45 p.m. (all times local). SPEED Channel will provide tape-delay coverage of qualifying beginning at 3:30 p.m. EST. Sunday's Gran Premio Telmex Gigante begins at 3:00 p.m. (local) and will be carried live on SPEED beginning with a pre-race show at 3:30 p.m. EST.

Paul Tracy - #26 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone

"I went out behind (Bruno) Junqueira in that last session and I basically just tried to hang on for dear life to keep sight of his back wing. But we got a better lap in and moved up a few positions. His car is very, very fast through all the esses at the back of the track and I'm sliding all the way through so we need to improve the KOOL car in that section. It's important to get through there well, because every one is different - they've all got a different radius, late apexes, early apexes, some are banked, some are flat, some are off-camber - so it's very difficult to set up for. I feel like I'm pretty good everywhere else. There's no downforce here at this attitude so you've got to get it mechanically and we're not there yet. Hopefully tomorrow we'll be a little closer."

Morning Session
Position: 6th
Speed: 113.320 mph
Time: 1:28.501

Provisional Qualifying
Position: 7th
Speed: 115.321 mph
Time: 1:26.971

Steve Challis, Chief Engineer

"At 7,000 feet it takes a little bit different car here. There are a lot of things that change, like downforce. Paul did a really good job because the car isn't perfect, but we're much faster than when we unloaded. We're getting the hang of this place and hopefully we'll learn more in the morning practice session tomorrow.

Dario Franchitti -- #27 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone

"The car is marvellous. I tried to push the second lap just to get that extra bit of time and I just ended up going slower, so that was our limit. The Team KOOL Green crew is going to work on it tonight and try and get some more out of the car. It's a brilliant track. One of the best tracks I've ever been on, really fun. There is such diversity and so many different ways to get around, it's so easy to make a mistake or overdrive one corner and that makes it challenging. I'm feeling right at home, because qualifying was a lot like racing in Europe - a great track and lousy weather."

Morning Session
Position: 9th
Speed: 112.693 mph
Time: 1:28.999

Provisional Qualifying
Position: 3rd
Speed: 116.424 mph
Time: 1:26.147

Kyle Moyer, Team Manager

"I just hope our experiences this year hold true one more time. Whenever we've shown up quick off the truck we've had a good weekend. We're still fighting for second place in the championship and every point is critical. We're on the front row right now, and were going to look at making some changes to the car for tomorrow, so maybe we'll get the top spot tomorrow and pick up the point that goes with it."

-TKG-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Bruno Junqueira , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti