Chaotic end of qualifying hampers Vasser and Jourdain starting positions. MONTEREY, CA . . . A chaotic final ten-minutes of qualifying for Sunday's Shell 300 left Team Rahal drivers Michel Jourdain and Jimmy Vasser unable to turn their fastest...
Chaotic end of qualifying hampers Vasser and Jourdain starting positions.
MONTEREY, CA . . . A chaotic final ten-minutes of qualifying for Sunday's Shell 300 left Team Rahal drivers Michel Jourdain and Jimmy Vasser unable to turn their fastest laps and forced the duo to start 11th and 15th on the grid. The chaos was triggered when pole winner Cristiano da Matta blew an engine and finished his lap covering the track in oil and engine debris. The track conditions which had been steadily improving quickly deteriorated and basically froze the grid. CART points leader Michel Jourdain Jr. will start eleventh after posting a fast lap of 114.461 mph. Jourdain briefly held the top spot during his initial run during qualifying. He was unable to improve on that run due to the poor track conditions.
Shell driver Jimmy Vasser, who won the CART race at Laguna Seca in 1997, had been one of the quickest cars on track in the morning session but the Shell team was unable to duplicate that performance during the afternoon session.
The Shell 300 is scheduled for Sunday at 4:30 PM EDT on Speed Channel.
Jimmy Vasser (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth/Lola on Bridgestone tires) - "Well, that was pretty under whelming. We had a good setup this morning and then something happened this afternoon. We ran quicker on older tires than on the new ones. Of course, having Cristiano da Matta dump oil in the groove didn't help. Just look at the second runs and almost no one improved their time from the first run. It was a shame because it was impossible to get a chance to move up at the end. It is disappointing and frustrating because we thought we had a really good car this morning. Now well have to play a different strategy for the race."
Michel Jourdain Jr. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola on Bridgestone tires) - "We made some changes that helped us. We had a good lap going and Cristiano [da Matta] put down a bunch of oil. That was it for everyone. The track was so oily nobody had a chance to improve their spot. Overall we made some improvements in the car for the race. I think we had a better car than 11th but that is the way things go in qualifying."