Rio 200 ...
#55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes-Benz Reynard
April 29, 2000 - Qualifying Notes/Quotes
Round 4 of 20 on the 2000 CART FedEx Championship Series
Nelson Piquet International Raceway - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Brazilian Tony Kanaan and his #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes-Benz Reynard will start ninth in Sunday's Rio 200 after securing his second top-10 qualifying spot of the season today. Kanaan circled the 1.864-mile Nelson Piquet International Raceway oval in 39.101 seconds (an average of 171.617 mph), bettering by more than six tenths of a second his fastest times during Friday's opening practice sessions. Kanaan qualified eighth at Nazareth in early April for a race rescheduled for May 27 due to snow. Rookie Alex Tagliani earned his first career Champ Car pole position today with a time of 38.587 (173.903 mph). Sunday's race begins at 1:30 p.m. local time (12:30 p.m. EDT) with a live broadcast set for ESPN.
"We did everything we could to get the best out of the car in qualifying trim and I think we got it. Morris (Nunn) said before we went out that a 39.1 would be very good for us and that's exactly what we got. Morris and I decided to take out all the downforce to maximize our speed down the straightaways. I trust Morris completely that he is going to give me a good car and I will go for it and hopefully we end up with a good result. I definitely had a lighter car around the corners. This is a tough track to get just the right setup. You have to make a decision whether to go for downforce and more speed through the corners or go for the straightaway speed. Obviously, with the changes we made after yesterday, it was the right thing to do. Now, I think we will put some downforce back into the car for the race and we'll be happy to end up with a top-10 finish. We just need to get some points in the bank and then go on from here. This is still a very new team. But it definitely feels like I'm working with a very professional group of guys. That will go a long way."
"We are right about where we thought we were going to be after the improvements we made last night. The car responded positively to the changes we made to get the best qualifying result. Now, we have a little bit of adjusting to do everywhere on the car and I think we could get a good finish. We'll take a good look at the fuel mileage situation because that is always a factor here. I think if we are there at the end we'll be in very good shape."