CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: Bridgestone Saturday qualifying report

Da Matta repeats pole honors for second straight race. Cristiano da Matta drove for three-plus seasons in the FedEx Championship Series without winning a pole position. Today, he collected the pole for the second consecutive race. Da Matta, ...

Da Matta repeats pole honors for second straight race.

Cristiano da Matta drove for three-plus seasons in the FedEx Championship Series without winning a pole position. Today, he collected the pole for the second consecutive race. Da Matta, driving the Chevron Toyota/Lola on Bridgestone tires for Newman/Haas Racing, strung together a lap of 120.800 mph (58.679 seconds) around the 1.969-mile permanent road course to earn the first starting position for Sunday's 110-lap race.

Da Matta captured his first CART pole a week ago at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif., and just as at Laguna, Kenny Brack was his nearest competitor. Brack, in the Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone, ran a best lap of 120.218 mph.

Afterward, da Matta credited the sensational grip of the Bridgestone Potenza racing radials during the critical laps for aiding his pole-winning effort, which came on his first qualifying stint (and first set of tires used in the session) today. The Brazilian also said the tires are showing the durability necessary to put him in strong contention for his second straight race win.

"It was a very good lap. We got everything right and timed the tires for the right time," da Matta said. "Everything was perfect. We couldn't even do it again on the second set (of tires). â^À¦ If this (winning poles) becomes a habit, it's a good one to have. We know for the race we have a pretty good car. Our car is quite easy on the Bridgestone tires. We can still do good lap times after a bunch of laps on the tires, so that is probably going to be our biggest strength in the race."

Quote from Kaz Hamamura, Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tire Development: "Portland has always posed a challenge for drivers and teams to find the right level of grip around the entire course, and this weekend is no different. Those teams able to make the correct compromises on car set-up can achieve it, but it's no simple task. Obviously, Cristiano and his crew have hit on the magic sweet spot and it helped him to the pole position again. And as Cristiano said, he's able to turn fast laps on tires with many laps on them, so it bodes well for him in the race. We're confident many others will be able to take advantage of the Bridgestone tire durability and do the same, which would make for an exciting race."

Qualifying session temperatures ranged from 97 to 105 degrees track and 75 to 77 degrees ambient (F).

-bridgestone-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Kenny Brack , Chip Ganassi , Cristiano da Matta
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing