CHAMPCAR/CART: Monterey: Newman/Haas Racing Friday report

Havoline driver da Matta narrowly missed provisional pole with second fastest lap in provisional qualifying for the Bridgestone GP of Monterey; Lilly driver Fittipaldi fifth fastest. 1st: Kenny Brack 1:10.066 / 114.989 mph 2nd: Cristiano da...

Havoline driver da Matta narrowly missed provisional pole with second fastest lap in provisional qualifying for the Bridgestone GP of Monterey; Lilly driver Fittipaldi fifth fastest.

1st: Kenny Brack 1:10.066 / 114.989 mph
2nd: Cristiano da Matta 1:10.103 / 114.928 mph (fastest in AM session by 1.1 seconds)
5th: Christian Fittipaldi 1:10.322 / 114.570 mph (6th fastest in AM session)

CRISTIANO DA MATTA, #6 Chevron Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone: "Our goal was to put the car on pole today to guarantee a front row start but after being a full second faster than everyone this morning we didn't do to much to the car. After qualifying we realized that we must have had that much of a gain because we were on newer tires than everyone else and kind of fooled ourselves. Because of that we didn't improve the car in qualifying. We were only four-hundredths of a second out of winning the provisional pole, which is a little frustrating. We were the fastest in the first five sessions (four in Sneak Preview plus this morning's practice session) at Laguna Seca but when a point was available, we were second fastest. We were the fastest on the first day in Long Beach (provisional qualifying) and the second fastest on the second day (final qualifying) so we want to do the opposite this weekend. I'm not very happy with the balance of the car. We can make it much better. If we can do that we have a shot at pole."

* NOTES: Da Matta won three consecutive events in the series (Australia and Fontana in 2001 and Mexico in 2002) and became the first driver to accomplish the feat since Juan Montoya (1999). After leading 30 laps and building a strong lead in Long Beach, a pit accident derailed his bid for a CART record-tying fourth consecutive win. A win in Laguna would be his fourth in the past seven CART events. Will be his fourth Champ car race here. Set the quickest lap times in each of the four practice sessions at the annual pre-season CART Sneak Preview. Best start here was seventh place in 2001 and best finish was 15th in 2000. Ran as high as fifth in the 2001 race before making contact with Dario Franchitti while attempting a pass forcing him to retire in 20th place. Won the 1997 Indy Lights series race here. He is currently in fifth place in the point standings, only 13 points back from leader Michel Jourdain.

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Lilly Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone: "We tried some things on the car this morning that didn't work so we went back to the set-up we had here at Sneak Preview in February in the afternoon session and the car was much better. There is more in the car as well so we hope to make progress tomorrow in final qualifying."

* NOTES: Will be his seventh race here. Ran well at Sneak Preview here in February and set the fifth fastest time despite limited track time due to mechanical problems. His best start is 8th place (2000 & 1996) and has four top-10 finishes, the best of which is 9th place (2001, 1998). Last year, the timing of the yellow flags disrupted his race. After running as high as fifth place he finished 9th. He is currently in 8th place in the point standings, only 15 points back from leader Michel Jourdain.

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW: The will be a morning practice session following by a one-hour qualifying session from 1:45-2:45 PM PT tomorrow.

WHERE TO WATCH: SPEED Channel will air live coverage of the entire weekend of activities beginning with Friday's afternoon practice session at 5:00 p.m. ET while CART Friday Night will air at 10:30 p.m. ET on June 7. Coverage of Saturday's qualifying session will air beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET while the Bridgestone Grand Prix of Monterey is set to air at 4:30 p.m., ET on Sunday, June 9.

-nhr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Christian Fittipaldi , Dario Franchitti , Kenny Brack , Cristiano da Matta , Michel Jourdain