CHAMPCAR/CART: Road America Gugelmin to start in back-up car after crash

(Elkhart Lake, Wi) – PacWest Racing’s Mauricio Gugelmin will be forced to start in his back-up car in tomorrow’s Motorola 220 at Elkhart Lake after badly damaging his ...

(Elkhart Lake, Wi) – PacWest Racing’s Mauricio Gugelmin will be forced to start in his back-up car in tomorrow’s Motorola 220 at Elkhart Lake after badly damaging his #17 Nextel PacWest Mercedes-Benz in official qualifying today.

Gugelmin got on the gas a little too early on the exit of turn 14 coming on to the main straight and hooked across the track and into the wall on the inside of the circuit near the entrance to the pits.

The impact badly damaged the left-hand side of the car and crunched the nose of the tub so badly that it was beyond repair. Gugelmin had clocked a time of 1:41.201 on just his third lap, but the crash stopped him from improving on his time of 1:41.044 which he set yesterday.

Because the prime car was deemed “beyond repair” by CART officials, Gugelmin will be able to start his back-up car in his qualifying position of 10th and not the rear of the field.

While he did not end up with any damage, the day was equally as frustrating for Gugelmin’s teammate Mark Blundell, who robbed of a good starting position by an ill-time red flag and then a puncture to his right rear. Blundell will start the #18 Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz in 20th position.

MAURICIO GUGELMIN - # 17 NEXTEL PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ – 10th

Qualifying: 1:41.044s

“The car was really good,” said Gugelmin.

“I turned into the corner and the car bit real good. I got on the gas too hard too early and it spat me across the track. It is obviously disappointing because I think we had the car to put us a few places higher on the grid.”

MARK BLUNDELL - # 18 MOTOROLA PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ – 20th

Qualifying: 1:42.336s

“I did my time on my first set of tires and then came in and made the adjustments required to get further up the time sheet,” said Blundell.

“I just got the temperature into the second set of tires when there was a red flag after Patrick Carpentier stuck it in. There were only a couple minutes left at the re-start and we got back out there and set ourselves for one last crack at it.

“Then I could feel the right rear deflating and had to return to the pits with a puncture.

“We have not have the chance for a decent lap all weekend and it has been disappointing, especially for Motorola who is also the naming-rights sponsor of this race. We need to make the most of every opportunity tomorrow and get some points.”

QUALIFYING TOP 10: 1: Dario Franchitti 1:39.866 (lap record); 2: Gil de Ferran 1:40.154; 3: Alex Tagliani 1:40.260; 4: Michael Andretti 1:40.401; 5: Adrian Fernandez 1:40.581; 6: Helio Castroneves 1:40.610; 7: Paul Tracy 1:40.682; 8: Christian Fittipaldi 1:40.902; 9: Kenny Brack 1:40.977; 10: Mauricio Gugelmin 1:41.044

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Adrian Fernandez , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Mauricio Gugelmin , Kenny Brack , Mark Blundell