Tracy takes top spot in provisional qualifying. Leads nine-car Lola train in Monterrey. Paul Tracy, on a mission to take this season's Vanderbilt Cup earned provisional pole for Sunday's third annual Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey at ...
Tracy takes top spot in provisional qualifying.
Leads nine-car Lola train in Monterrey.
Paul Tracy, on a mission to take this season's Vanderbilt Cup earned provisional pole for Sunday's third annual Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey at Fundidora Park. Tracy drove his #3 Player's Lola/Ford- Cosworth to a quick lap of 77.220 seconds (98.089mph), besting Oriol Servia's lap of 77.373 seconds (97.895mph) by a scant .153 seconds in the #20 Visteon Lola/Ford. Third went to Patrick Carpentier's #32 Player's Lola/Ford at 77.391 seconds (97.872mph). Eleven of 19 entrants qualified within one second on the 2.104-mile street circuit. All Champ Car drivers use Bridgestone Potenza tires.
While Tracy was held up on his second set of tires, his quick lap on the first set was good enough to take the day. "I had a good first run and we made some changes. The car was better," but traffic negated his attempt to improve. Servia, also balked by traffic noted, "We had a good car today and I think we're definitely in good shape for tomorrow." Carpentier was surprised by third place, as he'd barely run in the second practice session. "Early on in qualifying, I was all over the place. Where there was grass, I was on it, but I finally got it together and put a lap on. I'm pretty pleased, considering where we started this day," Tracy's teammate noted.
Bruno Junqueira's day ended with 15 minutes remaining in the 40-minute session with an oil leak after an off-track excursion, pushing his #1 PacifiCare Lola/Ford from 2nd to fourth place, based on his 77.476-second lap (97.764mph). Michel Jourdain Jr. used his final flying lap to post the 5th quickest tour at 77.526 seconds (97.701mph), making the #9 Gigante Lola/Ford driver the quickest Mexican driver on the track today. "It was hard to get a lap in the second part of the session, but I finally found a gap." It was a perfect start to spring, with temperatures in the low 70s and clear skies.
Rookie Sebastien Bourdais claimed 6th provisional starting slot in the #2 Newman/Haas Lola/Ford at 77.536 seconds (97.689mph), but was disappointed as he thought "with more grip on the track, it would have helped us in qualifying." He was followed by Alex Tagliani's #33 Johnson Controls Lola/Ford at 77.555 seconds (97.665mph). Mario Dominguez claimed 8th place with a tour of 77.701 seconds (97.481mph) in the #55 Herdez Lola/Ford while Adrian Fernandez completed the Lola top-nine conga line with a tour of 77.790 seconds (97.370mph) in his spare #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Lola/Ford.
Final qualifying Saturday will set the field for Sunday's 85-lap contest. Tracy has gained a point on his pursuers and is guaranteed a front-row start.