CHAMPCAR/CART: St. Pete: Team Johansson Saturday qualifying report

Vasser, Hunter-Reay give new team a strong start. American Spirit Team Johansson drivers Jimmy Vasser and Ryan Hunter-Reay qualified eighth and 12th respectively for tomorrows Grand Prix of St. Petersburg; round one of the 2003 Bridgestone ...

Vasser, Hunter-Reay give new team a strong start.

American Spirit Team Johansson drivers Jimmy Vasser and Ryan Hunter-Reay qualified eighth and 12th respectively for tomorrows Grand Prix of St. Petersburg; round one of the 2003 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.

The morning practice session saw Vasser record the 12th quickest time; he completed 36 trouble free laps in the session. Rookie Hunter-Reay started the day on a high note; he turned 34 laps and set the tenth fastest time.

In qualifying, both Vasser and Hunter-Reay took to the track just after the drop of the green flag, in efforts to beat the impending rain. Their efforts were successful, the rain held off, but the session was plagued with red flags, due to multiple incidents on the track. Both drivers were able to complete their allotted 15 laps, but without the desirable five to ten lap stints. While the qualifying conditions were less then ideal, both American Spirit Team Johansson drivers ran in the top ten through most of the session.

Vasser will make his 167th start tomorrow and he will do it from the top ten, in eighth position. Red flags ruined the rhythm for Hunter-Reay; despite the circumstances he qualified a very impressive 12th for his first Champ Car race. Both drivers will start from points paying positions, not bad for a team that is just 53 days old.

Jimmy Vasser #12 American Spirit Team Johansson/Ford-Cosworth/Reynard

"Mechanically, today was much better for us. We're feeling the Reynard a bit here. That is something we are just going to have to work with and perfect it the best we can. The team has come a long, long way in a short amount of time, we're just about two months old, so, we are only going to get better. Red flags were the biggest issue out there today. It is so tough to get a good lap in with that many red flags, it really throws off the strategy. I am looking forward to tomorrow. The St. Pete fans are great, there's a lot of energy here, it's great for us."

Ryan Hunter-Reay #31 American Spirit Team Johansson/Ford-Cosworth/Reynard

"The changes we have made since yesterday are definitely in the right direction. The car was much different from yesterday. We are definitely still looking for front grip. The reds caught me out on every flier, which was unfortunate. We are starting 12th tomorrow and it is a long race. My goal for tomorrow is to be there at the end, my wish is for a top-ten. We'll see what we can do."

-astj-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Ryan Hunter-Reay