SURFERS PARADISE (October 22, 2004) -- In the Champ Car World Series, a quick start to the weekend can make all the difference in the world-- whether you're racing in downtown Denver, Colorado, or downtown Surfers Paradise, Australia. PKV Racing's...
SURFERS PARADISE (October 22, 2004) -- In the Champ Car World Series, a quick start to the weekend can make all the difference in the world-- whether you're racing in downtown Denver, Colorado, or downtown Surfers Paradise, Australia. PKV Racing's Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) did exactly that today after driving in the top five early in the first practice session for this Sunday's Round 13 Champ Car World Series event in Australia. The 1996 Surfers winner parlayed his luck into fifth place first round qualifying run with a top time of 1:34.913 (106.013 mph) on the sun drenched 2.795-mile downtown street circuit. Teammate Roberto Gonzalez (#21 NII Holdings, Inc. Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) struggled to find a rhythm in the early going in his first visit Down Under, after two incidents left the rookie pilot 14th after clocking in at 1:37.649 (103.043 mph).
Vasser has been open about his desire to become the first repeat winner in the Lexmark Indy 300's 14 year history, and a fifth place starting position is a step in the right direction for duplicating his 1996 Indy successes when he drove to the checkers after pacing 60 laps.
"It felt pretty good out there, overall," said Vasser, who stands 10th in the championship hunt with 171 markers. "It's a good result for us -- one of the best starts for us all season, really. It's no secret that the street courses have challenged us this year, so it's a very positive start for the Gulfstream car to begin the weekend in the top five. We'll take it from here, and hopefully it will be a sign of things to come for us tomorrow and Sunday."
Vasser's teammate Gonzalez never had a chance to get his 750hp PKV Racing Lola up to the proper qualifying paces after losing an argument with a chicane in his first run, and a testy tire wall in the second stint.
"I think we might have bent the front suspension when I went over the chicane and damaged the front wing," said Gonzalez. "We just never had a chance to get the car warmed up and get up to speed. It's disappointing. I went back out after the guys changed the front wing out, but I lost it and just nosed into the tires. The guys gave me a good car -- it's just that I never had the opportunity to explore its full potential. We made the correct changes after the morning warm-up, so tomorrow should show what we found about the car."
Catch the PKV Racing duo of Vasser and Gonzalez this Sunday afternoon, October 24th, on the spectacular 2.795-mile street course in Surfers Paradise, or tune in to Spike TV Sunday, October 24th (4:00 pm ET/PT) for the Lexmark Indy 300, Round 13 of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford.