Joao Martins/motorsport.com Portland, Ore. (23 June 2000) - The beautiful Portland International Raceway is hosting this weekend round eight of CART championship, the Freightliner/GI Joe's 200, presented by Texaco. The weather has been very ...
Portland, Ore. (23 June 2000) - The beautiful Portland International Raceway is hosting this weekend round eight of CART championship, the Freightliner/GI Joe's 200, presented by Texaco. The weather has been very pleasant with partialy clouded skies and the sun is expected to shine after noon and the gourgeous blue sky is forecast to prevail all weekend.
At the track the red and white cars dominated the first day, with Helio Castroneves being the quickest in the bunch by the morning with a lap in 58.567 s, average speed 121.031 mph, along the 1.969 miles. "It was a very short week for us. We're bringing a lot of momentum from Detroit, but we know the other teams are working very hard, so we are too. We'll keep working with the car " declared Castroneves.
Second was Christian Fittipaldi, best lap of 58.813 s, average speed 120.524 mph, ahead of Patrick Carpentier with the lap time of 58.993 s, average speed in the 120.153 mph. Brian Herta filling in for Injured Tony Kanaan in the #55 Hollywood car was 19th and commented "We knew what we got ourselves into, and we knew it's going to take a bit of time to get up to speed. The key is getting the car the way I like it and we're are not there, yet".
In the afternoon the cars were split in two groups for the qualifying session and each one ran 30 minutes under a sunny and warm weather. Again a red and white car topped the time table in qualifying session but not the same as in the morning. Gil de Ferran seemed to get a ride on his teammate momentum and early in the session put a flying lap of 58.586 s, average speed of 120.991 mph.
"Well, we're king for a day, at least. The track basically lacked grip this afternoon, compared to this morning, it was breaking up a little bit in spots. But it did improve just a little bit near the end of the session, plus everyone put on their second set of tires. This track becomes traditionaly faster as the weekend goes along. But if it is hotter tomorrow and the track continues loosen up then may not be the case" declared de Ferran.
Fittipaldi was again second, lapping in 58.813 s and Carpentier with a lap time of 58.993 s, third. Andretti, Franchitti and Castroneves clsed the top six qualifiers today. The temperature of the track during the afternoon qualifying session was in the average 80 F, and many drivers complained about track conditions as an explanation why they could not improve or even equal their morning time.
Tomorrow, after a 1:15 h practice session starting at 10 h PST, the cars will go back to the track for final qualifying round, begining at 1:45 h PST.