Franchitti To Roll Off Ninth in Alpine Car at Twin Ring Motegi MOTEGI, Japan (April 16, 2004) - Alpine driver Dario Franchitti posted a lap of 204.395 miles per hour during qualifying Friday to earn the ninth starting position ...
Franchitti To Roll Off Ninth in Alpine Car at Twin Ring Motegi
MOTEGI, Japan (April 16, 2004) - Alpine driver Dario Franchitti posted a lap of 204.395 miles per hour during qualifying Friday to earn the ninth starting position for Saturday's running of the Bridgestone Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi in Motegi, Japan.
Franchitti, who will be making his sixth career open-wheel start at Motegi, circled the 1.5-mile oval in the #27 Alpine Honda-powered Dallara in 26.7717 seconds despite fighting a loose handling condition during his run. Franchitti was considered a possible threat for the pole Friday after he posted the second fastest speed in the last two practice sessions prior to qualifying.
For the second straight race, Franchitti's Andretti Green Racing teammate Dan Wheldon claimed the pole position. Wheldon circled the Motegi circuit at a speed of 205.762 miles per hour to score his second career pole in the Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Greg Ray qualified second, just ahead of Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan, who clocked in at 205.722 miles per hour. Kosuke Matsuura and Buddy Rice rounded out the top-five with speeds of 205.629 miles per hour and 205.408 miles per hour, respectively, giving Honda a sweep of the top-five starting positions on the grid.
Saturday's race, which is the third of 16 events on the 2004 schedule, is slated to begin at 12:30 p.m., local time (Friday, 11:30 p.m., EDT) and will be televised live on ESPN2.
Dario Franchitti, #27 Alpine Dallara/Honda/Firestone:
"I'm a little bit disappointed. That wasn't a particularly good lap. The car got a little loose in the middle of Turns 3 and 4, and that hurt us. We were a little quicker this morning, so we're a little disappointed. But, I think we're reasonably happy with the Alpine car for tomorrow. This is a long race and we know from the past that it takes a certain amount of luck to win it, so we're trying to everything we can to put ourselves in that position."
Kyle Moyer, General Manager, Andretti Green Racing:
"In qualifying you try to go fast, you try to get the car on the edge and you try to get the perfect lap. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. We got loose and Dario had to lift more than he wanted to, but we'll get to work on the race. It's a long, long race and a lot of things can happen in 300 miles. We feel pretty good about the way the Alpine car is shaping up for tomorrow."