CHAMPCAR/CART: Vancouver Friday Track Notes

FedEx Championship Series Track Notes - Friday Vancouver, BC (September 4, 1998) Today's CART on-track activities begin with a 90-minute practice session beginning at 10:30 a.m. The afternoon provisional qualifying session will take to the...

FedEx Championship Series Track Notes - Friday Vancouver, BC (September 4, 1998)

Today's CART on-track activities begin with a 90-minute practice session beginning at 10:30 a.m. The afternoon provisional qualifying session will take to the track at 2:30 p.m. and will be split into two groups with Group One comprised of the fastest drivers from the previous road course qualifying results. The Group Two session will take the Green Flag at 3:15 p.m. Each group session will last 30 minutes.

This year's temporary street course at Concord Pacific Place in Vancouver, British Columbia has been changed from the race configuration of earlier years. The new street course measures 1.802 miles (1.13 km.) as measured by Omega Timing, the official timekeeper of the FedEx Championship Series, versus the old measurement of 1.703 miles (1.064 km.). The Champ Car drivers that have seen the changes are very happy with the expanded areas that allow more passing than in earlier years. The Canadian driver GREG MOORE, pilot of the Player's Indeck Reynard Mercedes and resident of nearby Maple Ridge, B.C., assisted Molson Indy officials in the design of the new circuit. Last year's Molson Indy Vancouver winner, MAURICIO GUGELMIN, commented on the new layout after his first view on August 20th. "I think it is one of those places that is similar to Toronto. Brakes are going to be very important...Turn 8 is a good passing area, and if you look at Turns 8,9,10, and 11, it is almost like an oval. You are going to see a lot of action in that area." Because of the new layout, all qualifying and race records will also be new this year.

The Marlboro Pole rollover bonus award went unclaimed three weeks ago for the 21st consecutive race at the Texaco/Havoline 200 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI. With the pole winner for this weekend's Molson Indy Vancouver collecting $10,000 for the effort, and the race winner from the pole collecting the usual $100,000 first-place FedEx Championship Series purse plus the Marlboro rollover bonus of $330,000, Sunday's win from the pole will be worth a staggering $440,000. That amount of money would put the pole and race-winning driver in fifth place in this year's winnings standings even if this was the driver's first race of the season! Might be a good place to come out of retirement, eh?

While on the subject of retirement, swan-song driver BOBBY RAHAL, co-owner of Team Rahal, announced Monday the he and partner David Letterman have selected Italian MAX PAPIS to drive the #7 Miller Lite Reynard Ford in the 1999 FedEx Championship Series season. Current owner/driver BOBBY RAHAL will hang up his helmet at the close of the 1998 season after the California 500 at Fontana. PAPIS will join Shell Oil-sponsored BRYAN HERTA for the two-car Team Rahal effort for 1999. PAPIS is currently finishing up his season with the Arciero-Wells-owned, MCI-sponsored Reynard Toyota. Said PAPIS on the upcoming change; "Opportunities like this one with Miller Lite and Team Rahal come along only once in a lifetime. I want to thank Frank Arciero, Cal Wells, the Arciero-Wells team, their sponsors (MCI and Panasonic) and Toyota for giving me the chance to show my skills in CART."

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:30 a.m. to start the first practice session of the weekend .

At 10:33 a.m., #36 BARRON pulls into the pit area with flames showing at the rear of the car. His pit crew immediately extinguish the flames and go to work on the car.

At 10:40 a.m., ten minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #99 MOORE with a lap of 90.555 mph (1:11.638), followed by #33 CARPENTIER (90.332 mph; 1:11.815) and #11 FITTIPALDI (89.760 mph; 1:12.273).

RED FLAG waves at 10:42 a.m. after #24 GORDON spins at Turn 11 and makes contact with the outside wall. GORDON is uninjured in the incident but the car sustains damage and is towed to the pit area by CART safety workers.

At 10:50 a.m., 20 minutes into the session and under a full-course Red Flag, the fastest drivers and speeds are unchanged from the 10:40 a.m. report.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:52 a.m. to resume the morning practice session.

At 10:59 a.m., #33 CARPENTIER slides into the run-off at Turn 8. CART safety workers quickly get the car restarted and CARPENTIER continues on course without damage to his pit area.

At 11 a.m., 30 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #21 KANAAN with a lap of 94.868 mph (1:08.381), followed by #11 FITTIPALDI (94.198 mph; 1:08.868) and #5X DE FERRAN (94.432 mph; 1:09.432).

At 11:10 a.m., 40 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #1 ZANARDI with a lap of 95.787 mph (1:07.725), followed by #18 BLUNDELL (95.584 mph; 1:07.869) and #9 LEHTO (95.292 mph; 1:08.077).

At 11:16 a.m., #7 RAHAL enters the run-off at Turn 8 but continues on course to his pit area without damage to the car.

At 11:20 a.m., 50 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #9 LEHTO with a lap of 97.430 mph (1:06.583), followed by #5X DE FERRAN (96.391 mph; 1:07.301) and #99 MOORE (96.299 mph; 1:07.365).

At 11:21 a.m., #16 CASTRO-NEVES slides into the run-off at Turn 8. CART safety workers get the car restarted and CASTRO-NEVES continues to his pit area.

At 11:23 a.m., #98 JONES slides into the run-off area at Turn 6. CART safety workers get the car restarted and JONES continues on course to his pit area without damage to the car.

At 11:29 a.m., #8 HERTA enters the run-off at Turn 4 but continues on course without damage to the car.

At 11:30 a.m., one hour into the morning session, the fastest driver is still #9 LEHTO with his earlier lap of 97.430 mph (1:06.583), followed by #1 ZANARDI (97.414 mph; 1:06.594) and #21 KANAAN (97.214 mph; 1:06.731).

At 11:34 a.m., #77 MEIER enters the run-off at Turn 8 and continues on course without damage to the car.

At 11:37 a.m., #21 KANAAN slides into the run-off at Turn 8 and continues on course without damage to the car.

RED FLAG waves at 11:39 a.m. after #34 VITOLO spins coming out of Turn 4 and stalls in the middle of the track. CART safety workers get the car restarted and VITOLO continues to his pit area.

At 11:40 a.m., 70 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 11:30 a.m. report.

Also at 11:40 a.m., #20 PRUETT enters the run-off at Turn 8 and continues on course to his pit area.

GREEN FLAG waves at 11:44 a.m. to resume the morning practice session.

At 11:47 a.m., #77 MEIER spins at Turn 13. CART safety workers get the car restarted and MEIER continues on course to his pit area.

At 11:50 a.m., 80 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 11:40 a.m. report.

At 11:52 a.m., #3X RIBEIRO slides into the run-off at Turn 8. CART safety workers get the car restarted and RIBEIRO continues on course.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 12 p.m. to end the first practice session of the weekend with #11 FITTIPALDI the fastest driver with a lap of 98.424 mph (1:05.911), followed by #1 ZANARDI (98.086 mph; 1:06.138) and #9 LEHTO (97.848 mph; 1:06.299). FedEx Championship drivers introduced 36 different cars to the track in this morning's session with the top 17 cars within two seconds of the fast lap set by FITTIPALDI in this morning's session. Secondary cars were utilized by #5X DE FERRAN, #11X FITTIPALDI, #24X GORDON, #36X BARRON, #19X JOURDAIN JR., #98X JONES, #6X ANDRETTI, #20X PRUETT, and #17X GUGELMIN. There are eight drivers out of the top ten in this morning's practice that have not won a race in the 1998 season with three rookies clocking best laps out of the top six driver's speeds.

Arciero-Wells Racing has announced that ROBBIE GORDON will compete in a car very similar in appearance and color to his teammate's car, #25 MAX PAPIS. GORDON's car will still sport the number 24 and will have sponsor logos of both MCI and Panasonic-Duskin.

GREEN FLAG waves at 2:30 p.m. to start the Group One qualifying session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 110 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 75 degrees F. at the start of the session.

At 2:35 p.m., five minutes into the Group One session, the fastest driver is #5 DE FERRAN with a lap of 99.121 mph (1:05.336), followed by #99 MOORE (98.865 mph; 1:05.617) and #21 KANAAN (98.377 mph; 1:05.942).

At 2:36 p.m., #21 KANAAN enters the run-off at Turn 7. CART safety workers quickly get the car restarted and KANAAN continues on course.

At 2:39 p.m., #8 HERTA slides into the run-off at Turn 4 and continues on course without damage to the car.

At 2:40 p.m., ten minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #1 ZANARDI with a lap of 99.713 mph (1:05.059), followed by #27 FRANCHITTI (99.147 mph; 1:05.430) and #5 DE FERRAN (99.121 mph; 1:05.447).

At 2:41 p.m., #1 ZANARDI slides into the run-off at Turn 8 but continues on course without damage to the car.

At 2:45 p.m., 15 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds are unchanged from the 2:40 p.m. report.

At 2:50 p.m., 20 minutes into the Group One session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 2:45 p.m. report.

At 2:55 p.m., 25 minutes into the Group One session, the fastest driver is still #1 ZANARDI with his earlier lap of 99.713 mph (1:05.059), followed by #27 FRANCHITTI (99.147 mph; 1:05.430) and #99 MOORE (99.141 mph; 1:05.434).

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 3 p.m. with #1 ZANARDI the fastest driver with a lap of 100.052 mph (1:04.838), followed by #27 FRANCHITTI (99.868 mph; 1:04.958) and #5 DE FERRAN (99.788 mph; 1:05.010).

GREEN FLAG waves at 3:15 p.m. to start the Group Two qualifying session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 111 degrees F. and an ambient temperature of 80 degrees F. at the start of the Group Two session.

At 3:20 p.m., five minutes into the Group Two qualifying session, the fastest Group Two driver is #9 LEHTO with a speed of 97.525 mph (1:06.518), 14th- fastest overall, followed by #33 CARPENTIER (97.382 mph; 1:06.616; 15th-fastest overall, and #16 CASTRO-NEVES (97.035 mph; 1:06.854; 16th-fastest overall).

At 3:25 p.m., ten minutes into the Group Two qualifying session, the fastest Group Two driver is still #9 LEHTO with a speed of 98.761 mph (1:05.686), 6th- fastest overall, followed by #21 KANAAN (98.729 mph; 1:05.727; 7th-fastest overall, and #18 BLUNDELL (98.684 mph; 1:05.737; 8th-fastest overall).

At 3:30 p.m., 15 minutes into the Group Two qualifying session, the fastest drivers, speeds and overall positions remain unchanged from the 3:25 p.m. report.

At 3:32 p.m., #10 HEARN makes light contact with the wall at Turn 10 and continues on course.

At 3:35 p.m., 20 minutes into the Group Two qualifying session, the fastest drivers, speeds, and overall standings remain unchanged from the 3:30 p.m. report.

At 3:40 p.m., 25 minutes into the Group Two qualifying session, the fastest drivers, speeds, and overall standings remain unchanged from the 3:35 p.m. report.

At 3:43 p.m., #34 VITOLO enters the run-off at Turn 4 and continues on course without damage to the car.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 3:45 p.m. with #26 TRACY the fastest Group Two driver with a speed of 99.020 mph (1:05.514; 6th-fastest overall), followed by #18 BLUNDELL (98.834 mph; 1:05.637; 7th-fastest overall) and #17 GUGELMIN (98.770 mph; 1:05.680; 8th-fastest overall).

ALEX ZANARDI sits on the provisional pole for Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver with his lap of 100.052 mph (1:04.838). ZANARDI is chasing his first pole of the season and his 11th of his career. Vancouver was the site of Zanardi's last pole, during the 1997 season.

DARIO FRANCHITTI is second on the provisional grid with his speed of 99.868 mph (1:04.958). FRANCHITTI logged one of the largest jumps in speed from this morning's practice out of the front runners, increasing 3.795 mph over the A.M. laps. FRANCHITTI is looking to make his sixth front-row start of the season. FRANCHITTI has three poles and two outside poles so far in the 1998 season.

GIL DE FERRAN logs a third on the first day's line-up with his lap of 99.788 mph (1:05.010). DE FERRAN is attempting to match or eclipse his season-best start which was a third at Japan.

Quotes from the top three drivers from today's provisional qualifying follow.

ALEX ZANARDI, Target Reynard Honda: "It [the track] is a good improvement from last year. There are still some areas which could be improved, although we obviously should be grateful to everyone who helped with these improvements. It's very challenging and the circuit is nice, although I'm not so optimistic about how easy it's going to be to pass. Everyone of us tries very hard to win every race, and this is what I'm doing. I'm looking forward to having a good race in Vancouver because this place has been very bitter to me the last two years. I felt we had the car to win in both 1996 and last year, but it didn't happen. The championship is the main focus, but obviously the championship came because we were able to win races."

DARIO FRANCHITTI, KOOL Reynard Honda: "This morning, we tried to get in the ballpark, because we really weren't. The crew spent a lot of time between practice and qualifying working with gear ratios, and obviously, we picked up a lot. I think there's a lot more in the car, so it's going to be interesting tomorrow."

GIL de FERRAN, Valvoline/Cummins Special Reynard Honda: "I enjoy the track very much. The layout is a definite improvement. It's a lot more fun to drive than last year's track. The last turn in front of the pits is extremely quick, but fun nonetheless. It's gonna be a tough track to overtake, like the previous one, but still a little better."

This concludes the track notes for today from Vancouver.

Source: CART Online

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