CHAMPCAR/CART: PacWest Toronto Friday qualifying

(Toronto, CA) -- After all the rain had come and gone this afternoon, PacWest Racing's Mauricio Gugelmin was eighth and Mark Blundell 15th on the provisional grid for Sunday's Molson Indy in Toronto, Canada. Both drivers made the best of their...

(Toronto, CA) -- After all the rain had come and gone this afternoon, PacWest Racing's Mauricio Gugelmin was eighth and Mark Blundell 15th on the provisional grid for Sunday's Molson Indy in Toronto, Canada. Both drivers made the best of their situations after being presented different track conditions in two separate qualifying groups (the groups being decided by qualifying positions from the previous round of the FedEx Championship Series at Cleveland). Blundell, driver of the #18 Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz, was in the first group which was forced out on a very wet track in pouring rain. The conditions improved as the session went on and although Blundell improved his time lap after lap, his final and quickest lap was hampered by some slower traffic. He finished fourth in the group, which eventually made his 15th overall.

Gugelmin, driver of the #17 Nextel PacWest Mercedes-Benz, was in the second group which turned its laps on a much drier and faster track. The Brazilian drove 20 laps and set his quickest time of 1:00.206s on his final lap -- the time being the eighth-fastest and good enough to put him in the fast group again tomorrow.

MAURICIO GUGELMIN - # 17 NEXTEL PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 8th
Qualifying: 1:00.206s

"The team strategy was right because we were the first car on slicks after the rain stopped," said Gugelmin.

"It turned out to be the right call because I managed not to crash despite numerous slick spots out on the track.

"My crew basically rebuilt the primary car after the morning session. The car still lacked a little balance although I was very pleased with it. I was hoping for a top five spot so maybe we can finish a couple of places higher tomorrow."

MARK BLUNDELL - # 18 MOTOROLA PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 15th
Qualifying: 1:09.505

"We had a good balance for the wet conditions and I was pretty pleased with that result," said Blundell.

"We may have been able to top the opening group, but I got caught up in traffic on my last lap, which, ironically, was my fastest lap. The track obviously got drier as the session progressed and it was way drier for the second group, as you can tell by the times. It will be nice for everyone, the teams and the fans, if it is totally dry for tomorrow's qualifying sessions."

PROVISIONAL QUALIFYING TOP TEN: Dario Franchitti 58.877s 1; Juan Montoya 58.897 2; Helio Castroneves 59.436 3; Michael Andretti 59.629 4; Gil de Ferran 59.542 5; Jimmy Vasser 59.889 6; Oriol Servia 1:00.122 7; Mauricio Gugelmin 1:00.206 8; Bryan Herta 1:00.781 9; Cristiano da Matta 1:01.340 10.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Dario Franchitti , Mauricio Gugelmin , Oriol Servia , Bryan Herta , Mark Blundell , Cristiano da Matta