LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 11, 2001) - Defending FedEx Championship Series champion Gil de Ferran of Marlboro Team Penske became the third Champ Car driver to win back-to-back pole positions at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and moved into a ...
LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 11, 2001) - Defending FedEx Championship Series champion Gil de Ferran of Marlboro Team Penske became the third Champ Car driver to win back-to-back pole positions at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and moved into a ninth-place tie for CART career poles Saturday when he topped all qualifiers for Sunday's Miller Lite 200 (Noon ET, live, ESPN).
De Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard) put together a lap of 124.214 miles per hour (1 minute, 5.442 seconds) on the 2.258-mile permanent road course to claim his second consecutive pole at Mid-Ohio and the 13th of his seven-year FedEx Championship Series career. His time was just one-tenth of a second off the track-record, 1 minute, 5.347 clocking he equaled while winning last year's pole here.
In addition, de Ferran's 13th career pole moved him into a tie with Paul Tracy for ninth place on the CART career pole list. The championship point de Ferran earned for the pole gave him 73 for the season, tying him with Michael Andretti (Motorola Honda Reynard) for fourth place in the FedEx Championship Series championship.
De Ferran joined Andretti (1990-92) and Dario Franchitti (1998-99) as winners of consecutive pole positions during Mid-Ohio's 20-year Champ Car history. He became the third multiple pole winner of the 2001 season, joining FedEx Championship Series points leader Kenny Brack (Shell Ford Lola) of Team Rahal, who owns a series-high four; and Marlboro Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard), who has claimed three.
Defending Miller Lite 200 champion Castroneves, who stands second to Brack in the chase for the FedEx Championship Series, completed a Marlboro Team Penske sweep of the front row when he qualified second at 123.394 mph (1:05.877). Castroneves trails Brack, 104 points to 82, heading into Sunday's 13th of 21 rounds in the championship.
Castroneves qualified for his seventh front-row start of the season, including poles at Long Beach, Japan and Detroit. Brack qualified 13th at 122.249 mph (1:06.494).
Patrick Carpentier (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard) of Player's Forsythe Racing qualified third at 123.341 mph (1:05.905). Carpentier - who has posted back-to-back podium finishes in his past two starts, including his first career victory at Michigan - recorded the best qualifying performance of his five-year FedEx Championship Series career on a road or street course.
Jimmy Vasser (Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard) of Patrick Racing qualified fourth at 123.293 mph (1:05.391), followed by Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) of Team KOOL Green, who was fifth at 123.141 mph (1:06.012).
Vasser's qualifying effort was a season best, while Franchitti logged his eighth top-10 qualifying performance of the season.
GIL de FERRAN, Marlboro Honda Reynard: "The car was a little twitchy on the first set of tires, and there was a lot of traffic, so I only did one lap, really and then I had to come in for fuel. We took a little front wing off, but it was too much because the car was understeering really badly. When Dario [Franchitti] spun, I decided to come in and take some front wing, and it was a good decision because the car was really good. I just kept pushing the envelope and I enjoyed it. [On team's success at Mid-Ohio] I don't think there's one thing. I really look back to almost two years ago when Helio and I joined the team. I remember there were several engineering meetings in November and December about how to attack this type of track. We had a good car last year, and in the last 12 months we've managed to not screw it up. We've made a lot of little adjustments and made the car better, and it's just lots of little things. Certainly, this race and Cleveland are some of the toughest races we do. I'm not expecting it to be easy at all. It certainly would be nice to win a race, but I'm not one to count birds in my hand when they're flying all over the place. We've got two more hours tomorrow."
HELIO CASTRONEVES, Marlboro Honda Reynard: "The car was very good this morning, and we had great expectations this afternoon. We knew it was going to be one of the Penske cars on the front row, and I was really trying for it to be me. I was a little concerned on the first set of tires because the conditions changed from this morning. When I spun, I saw Jimmy [Vasser] gave me a gap to pass, but I went too fast. The last lap was looking very good, but I guess some drivers have trouble looking in their mirrors. But that's the game. We started in the same spot last year, and hopefully we'll have the same result. It's going to be tough. Obviously, our cars are working really well, and my car is working especially well even on old tires, but it's going to be tough."
PATRICK CARPENTIER, Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard: "It was a lot of fun this afternoon. This morning we had a little bit of a problem with the car and lost 45 minutes. We had to switch to the backup car, but the backup car wasn't as good, so the team decided to switch back to the primary car. Ford always continues to amaze me, they had a great engine for qualifying. We had a great car, and I could do a fast lap, but I wasn't expecting to be there. We were 16th this morning, but both Player's cars are up there. It was a lot of fun, I loved it! We'll see how it goes tomorrow. Usually Team Player's has a good car in the race. We thought it would be great to start just behind the Penskes, they're good cars and good drivers. It's going to be tough, but there's always a chance and we'll see what happens."
* Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard) earned his 13th career pole position Saturday, but only his second on a permanent road course. His other road-course pole came at Mid-Ohio last year, when he finished second to Marlboro Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves.
* Gil de Ferran's pole was the series-leading sixth of the season for a Honda-powered driver. Honda's other poles came from Helio Castroneves (Long Beach, Japan and Detroit), de Ferran (Toronto) and Tony Kanaan (Chicago). The pole is Honda's fourth straight at Mid-Ohio, following de Ferran (2000) and back-to-back poles from Dario Franchitti (1998 and '99).
* Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard) earned his seventh front-row start of the season, consisting of poles at Long Beach, Japan and Detroit and outside poles at Milwaukee, Toronto and Chicago. He has also started fourth or better in six of his last seven appearances on permanent road courses, including poles at Portland and Laguna Seca and an outside pole at Mid-Ohio last year, and starts of fourth at Mexico and third at Portland this season.
* Patrick Carpentier's (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard) third-place start is the best of his five-year FedEx Championship Series career on a road or street course. His previous career best was established at Cleveland - where he started sixth in 1999 - and matched at Mexico and Detroit this season.
Qualifying for the Miller Lite 200 will air 1 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2. CART 2Day airs 10:30 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2, while ESPN's live race broadcast begins noon ET. Sunday's race will also air on the CART Radio Network and on CART's official website, at www.cart.com .
LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Saturday's qualifying results for Sunday's Miller Lite 200 FedEx Championship Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, with car number in parentheses, driver, type of car, time in seconds and speed in miles per hour:
1. (1) Gil de Ferran, Honda Reynard, 65.442, 124.214. 2. (3) Helio Castroneves, Honda Reynard, 65.877, 123.394. 3. (32) Patrick Carpentier, Ford Reynard, 65.905, 123.341. 4. (40) Jimmy Vasser, Toyota Reynard, 65.931, 123.293. 5. (27) Dario Franchitti, Honda Reynard, 66.012, 123.141. 6. (33) Alex Tagliani, Ford Reynard, 66.093, 122.990. 7. (55) Tony Kanaan, Honda Reynard, 66.196, 122.799. 8. (26) Paul Tracy, Honda Reynard, 66.361, 122.494. 9. (11) Christian Fittipaldi, Toyota Lola, 66.364, 122.488. 10. (4) Bruno Junqueira, Toyota Lola, 66.395, 122.431. 11. (6) Cristiano da Matta, Toyota Lola, 66.469, 122.295. 12. (18) Scott Dixon, Toyota Reynard, 66.480, 122.274. 13. (8) Kenny Brack, Ford Lola, 66.494, 122.249. 14. (77) Bryan Herta, Ford Reynard, 66.510, 122.219. 15. (20) Roberto Moreno, Toyota Reynard, 66.550, 122.146. 16. (51) Adrian Fernandez, Honda Reynard, 66.649, 121.964. 17. (12) Memo Gidley, Toyota Lola, 66.776, 121.732. 18. (39) Michael Andretti, Honda Reynard, 66.806, 121.678. 19. (7) Max Papis, Ford Lola, 66.939, 121.436. 20. (66) Alex Zanardi, Honda Reynard, 67.068, 121.202. 21. (17) Mauricio Gugelmin, Toyota Reynard, 67.106, 121.134. 22. (5) Tora Takagi, Toyota Reynard, 67.168, 121.022. 23. (52) Shinji Nakano, Honda Reynard, 67.235, 120.901. 24. (25) Max Wilson, Ford Lola, 67.508, 120.412. 25. (16) Michel Jourdain Jr., Ford Lola, 67.678, 120.110. 26. (22) Oriol Servia, Ford Lola, 68.364, 118.905.
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