Budweiser/G.I. Joe's 200 Portland International Raceway 18 June 1999 Friday Qualifying Report by Alan Perry, motorsport.com It wasn't supposed to rain today, but it did. And there isn't supposed to be Toyotas in the provisional top three,...
Budweiser/G.I. Joe's 200 Portland International Raceway 18 June 1999
Friday Qualifying Report by Alan Perry, motorsport.com
It wasn't supposed to rain today, but it did. And there isn't supposed to be Toyotas in the provisional top three, but there are two.
Group 1 qualifying - the "fast" guys
Group 1 consisted of Montoya, de Ferran, Andretti, Papis, Herta, Fittipaldi, Vasser, Gugelmin, Jones, Tracy, Franchitti, Fernandez, Kanaan and Moore.
The rain started just as the session did. In the morning, it started to rain just as the practice session began. The rain was right on time again.
Jones, Andretti and de Ferran went out to see what they could do. They were joined by Montoya. The track was really wet on the back straight, coming into turn 10, but not as wet on the other end of the track.
The session was red-flagged when Fittipaldi spun coming out of the Festival Curves, hitting the nose of the car on the wall and spinning it around before it eventually stopped in the gravel.
When the session was stopped, the order was de Ferran (1:12.963), Andretti (1:13.856), Montoya (1:14.418), Jones (1:15.331), Kanaan (1:15.413), Fernandez (1:16.163), Tracy (1:17.064) and Moore (1:17.317).
The session was restarted after Fittipaldi's car was pulled out of the gravel, but the rain was coming down hard and the track was a mess. That didn't stop some drivers from going out, but it didn't take long before the session was stopped again. This time, Franchitti lost it coming out of turn 12 and stuffed his car into the wall.
The clock was stopped with twelve-and-a-half minutes to go.
After time, the rain stopped (for the time being?), but course was very wet. The session was restarted and Montoya, Herta, Gugelmin and Kanaan were quick to go out. The cars were kicking up large rooster tails and sliding all over the places, but eventually a dry line started to form in some places. The times settled into 1:13s and 1:14s and then were chipped down from there.
After the checkered flag dropped, a few cars improved, including Franchitti who managed to take provisional pole with a 1:11.21, more than 10 seconds slower than the fast times from the morning.
Both Franchitti and Fittipaldi spent much of the session sitting around serving a penalty for causing red flags at Long Beach, the most recent road course race. Actually, Fittipaldi was not able to get in a time at all.
The final order for the first group was Franchitti, Tracy, Papis, de Ferran, Montoya, Moore, Kanaan, Fernandez, Gugelmin, Andretti, Vasser, Herta, Jones, and Fittipaldi.
Group 2 qualifying - the other guys
Group 2 consisted of Unser, Marques, Castro-Neves, Hearn, Gidley, Hattori, Moreno, Jourdain, Gordon, Pruett, da Matta, Carpentier, Salles and Garcia.
The second group benefited from disappearing rain and a drying track. By the end of the session, the track was going to be dry enough to run slick tires. But that is jumping ahead in the story.
The track was drying out, but the cars were on rain tires, so the drivers were not making much of an impact on the times from the first group. The exceptions to this were Carpentier, who put in a time good for 6th then put in 3rd best time, Hearn, who started with 13th then got 7th, and da Matta, who started with 9th then took 1st. Then Carpentier took 1st. The track was definitely drying out.
Hearn spun coming onto the front straight and the session was red-flagged. The session went green, but Salles spun in turn 4 soon afterward and it went red again.
After that red flag, the track had dried enough that the teams could run slicks and the times came down fast. The order started Carpentier, da Matta, Pruett, Marquez, Hearn, Gordon and Moreno. But in the next few minutes, Castro-Neves, Jourdain, Marquez, Gordon, Moreno and Hearn all briefly held top position and the two Penskes were 1-2 for a while. The times went from 1:07s to 1:04s to 1:01s and 1:00s. But as time ran out, the times stopped improving. In the end, Hearn held provisional pole.
The final order of the second group was Hearn, Carpentier, Gordon, Castro-Neves, Moreno, Jourdain, Unser, Marquez, Garcia, Pruett, Gidley, da Matta, Salles and Hattori.
The final order of the combined groups was Hearn, Carpentier, Gordon, Castro-Neves, Moreno, Jourdain, Unser, Marquez, Garcia, Pruett, Gidley, da Matta, Franchitti, Tracy, Papis, de Ferran, Montoya, Moore, Kanaan, Fernandez, Gugelmin, Andretti, Vasser, Salles, Herta, Jones, Hattori and Fittipaldi.
The top start/finish trap speed was driven by Richie Hearn at 175.200 mph. The top intermediate 1 trap speed was driven by Roberto Moreno at 98.229 mph and the intermediate 2 trap speed was driven by Patrick Carpentier at 186.080 mph.