IRL: Phoenix: Panoz G Force Saturday report

Fresh from winning the opening round of the 2003 IRL IndyCar Series Championship, American chassis manufacturer Panoz G Force continued to show it is a force to be reckoned with after qualifying at Phoenix today. Mo Nunn Racing's Felipe Giaffone...

Fresh from winning the opening round of the 2003 IRL IndyCar Series Championship, American chassis manufacturer Panoz G Force continued to show it is a force to be reckoned with after qualifying at Phoenix today.

Mo Nunn Racing's Felipe Giaffone and Homestead winner Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) qualified second and third respectively in today's session at Phoenix International Raceway.

The result was a pleasant surprise for the teams which had concentrated their pre-race efforts on fine-tuning their race package, rather than their qualifying performance.

Giaffone recorded a fastest lap of 177.766mph in his qualifying attempt, just ahead of Dixon at 177.661mph.

"Our teams have worked very hard on their race setup so far, so to have two cars in the first two rows in qualifying is extremely pleasing," Panoz G Force, Director of Sales, John Biddlecombe said.

"We are looking very good for the race tomorrow, and I believe our package for the 1-mile ovals is stronger than what a lot of people thought.

"Tora (Takagi) bottomed out a little on his run, which hurt his time a bit, but Felipe (Giaffone) and Scott (Dixon) did an outstanding job. We have been able to give the teams more downforce with some new parts this weekend, and it seems to be paying off."

Dixon's team-mate Tomas Scheckter was 8th fastest at 176.441mph, while Tora Takagi was only Panoz G Force outside the top ten at 174.027mph

"This morning, every time we put on clean tires, we had problems where we couldn't get a clean lap, so I didn't know how hard I could push for qualifying," Giaffone said.

"On my first lap the car just stuck, so I knew I could push a lot harder to get a good lap. I got a little loose in Turn 2, so I had to come out of the throttle a little bit and then come back in. If we didn't have that little bit of oversteer, we would have been a little bit faster, but not enough to beat Tony (Kanaan)."

Dixon is confident repeating his Homestead victory in tomorrow's 2nd round of the championship.

"I got a little squirrely in Turn 2 and lost a little bit of speed. We might have been right there for the pole if that didn't happen, but it's still pretty good," Dixon said.

"Team Target has given me a fast car all weekend, and I'm happy about our run today. The car has been pretty consistent in race trim during our practices, and I'm excited about our chances tomorrow."

-pmg-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Felipe Giaffone , Scott Dixon , Tora Takagi , Mo Nunn
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing