The weekend festivities of Round 10 of the 2003 Bridgestone Champ Car World Series began on Friday with the first two practice sessions amidst an overcast sky and off-and-on rain at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario. And hometown favourite...
The weekend festivities of Round 10 of the 2003 Bridgestone Champ Car World Series began on Friday with the first two practice sessions amidst an overcast sky and off-and-on rain at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario.
And hometown favourite Paul Tracy didn't disappoint, annihilating the rest of the field to finish first in the opening practice session. The Player's/Indeck Racing Team driver's time of 1 minute 01.085 seconds was 4.244 seconds ahead of the next fastest competitor, Oriol Servia (1:05.329), who will celebrate his 29th birthday on race day.
After posting slower times on the damp track earlier in the session, Tracy came out of the pits with 4 minutes remaining to move to the top of the field in his eighth practice lap in a time of 1:02.113. He improved his time to 1:01.085 on his 10th lap in the final minute.
Times were considerably slower in the second practice session. A brief but heavy downpour brought out the red flag for the first 26 minutes due to several spots of standing water on the 11-turn, 1.755-mile circuit. Tagliani recorded the fastest in the final minute of the second frame at 1:09.673 followed by Mexican Adrian Fernandez (1:10.037) and Moreno (1:10.117).
Tracy is enthusiastic going into this weekend's event.
"I can't think of a better way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of my race victory in Toronto than by winning this year," said Tracy. "It would be a big help in the drivers' standings, but more than that, it would be fantastic to win another one for the Canadian fans who have been so supportive to me and to Team Player's over the years."
"Toronto is one of my favourite tracks in the series, but I realize there's no such thing as a home-track advantage. We're going to need to qualify well because it's a very narrow street circuit with limited passing."
Servia, who races for Visteon/Patrick Racing, has posted six consecutive top-six finishes.
"It is great to be back on the Toronto street circuit," said Servia earlier in the week. "I always liked this city and track. The Toronto circuit has good braking areas and there are a couple of places where you can pass, which should make for an exciting race."
The weather forecast calls for isolated showers and a high of 23 degrees Celsius this afternoon when the first qualifying session begins at 3:15 p.m. EDT.