CHAMPCAR/CART: Mixed Day of Qualifying for PacWest Racing in Long Beach

PacWest drivers Mauricio Gugelmin and Mark Blundell will start 16th and 19th respectively in tomorrow's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in California. Gugelmin set a time of 1:08.821s in his ...

PacWest drivers Mauricio Gugelmin and Mark Blundell will start 16th and 19th respectively in tomorrow's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in California.

Gugelmin set a time of 1:08.821s in his #17 Nextel PacWest Mercedes-Benz while Blundell clocked a 1:09.218s in his #18 Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz in qualifying for the third round of the FedEx Championship Series.

Gugelmin made some changes to his car after the morning practice session and improved one place from yesterday's provisional grid.

Blundell struggled badly with an ill-handling car and slipped from 18th to 19th on the grid.

Ironically, Blundell made up more positions at Long Beach in 1998 than in any other race of his Champ Car career when he qualified 23rd and finished 7th.

He is hoping he can at least repeat that performance on the demanding Californian street course tomorrow and open his championship points account.

Brazilian Gil de Ferran has taken pole for the race with a time of 1:07.494s and is followed by Jimmy Vasser (1:07.703s), defending series champion Juan Montoya (1:07.984s), Adrian Fernandez (1:08.007s) and Bryan Herta (1:08.012s).

Tomorrow's race will be 82 laps in distance.

MAURICIO GUGELMIN - #17 NEXTEL PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 16th

"We improved the car from this morning's session for sure," said Gugelmin.

"We have a lot better balance and a lot less push.

"The qualifying session was trouble free -- our first trouble free session of the weekend.

"We got into a little bit of traffic, there were a lot of guys out there.

"On my last attempt I could not take as much as I wanted out of it (the car).

"We are going to try and improve a little bit more before the start of the race and try and make sure we have a good clean run."

MARK BLUNDELL - #18 MOTOROLA PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 19th

"We are having severe problems trying to keep the rear of the car under control," said Blundell.

"Every time I brake the rear of the car lifts off the ground and it spits me off the track.

"I have spent more time off the track than on it and fortunately I have not damaged anything.

"We have fought our way through the pack here before, but we will certainly need to make some improvements overnight if we are to pull off anything tomorrow.

"We need to go hard from the first green and allow the Mercedes-Benz reliability to get us to the checkered flag - hopefully well among the points."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Jimmy Vasser , Adrian Fernandez , Mauricio Gugelmin , Mark Blundell