Andersen Racing's Mansur Gets Pole For First F2000 Race at the Glen; Team Gets Second, Third and Fourth In Qualifying for Sunday's Race

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., June 8 - Although three of the four Andersen Racing drivers competing in the F2000 Championship doubleheader at Watkins Glen International have never raced at the 3.4-mile, 11-turn road course before, the Fairfield, N.J.-based team's personnel quickly helped them get acclimated and they recorded excellent results in two qualifying sessions Friday.

Andersen Racing's Terrick Mansur got the pole for Saturday's race, while his teammate Ricardo Vassmer will line up right behind him in third place. The team placed second, third and fourth in qualifying for Sunday's race, as Noah Bystrom will start second followed by Vassmer and Mansur.

Mansur, whose No. 17 touts Aruba.com for his native land, got the pole for Race 1 with a lap in 1:55.520 during qualifying Friday morning. Vassmer, of Caracas, Venezuela and Coral Springs, Fla., took just 0.155 of a second longer to travel the course with his No. 2, which advertises PDVSA, Citgo, Zoom and Meridiano TV, to get third. Bystrom, of Chanhassen, Minn., qualified sixth in the 37-car field for the first race with a 1:56.947 while representing APEX Universal Joints and Cooper Power Tools.

Bystrom led the Andersen Racing contingent in the second qualifying session Friday afternoon, getting second with a 1:56.242. Vassmer was just 0.052 of a second slower for third with a 1:56.294, while Mansur was fourth with a 1:56.784.

The team's fourth driver here, Scott Willard, was eighth and seventh, respectively, in two practice sessions prior to qualifying. His BroadReach Partners No. 14 had handling problems during qualifying, however, and the veteran from Weston, Conn. spun in both sessions. He'll start 22nd on Saturday and 17th on Sunday.

The team's fifth F2000 driver, Juliana Gonzalez, did not make the trip to Watkins Glen but hopes to be racing at the next doubleheader June 22-24 as part of the Grand Prix of Cleveland.

The first F2000 race of the weekend, round five of the 12-race series, is set for 9:35 a.m. to 10:05 a.m. tomorrow. The second half of the doubleheader, which marks the series' halfway point, is slated for 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Sunday. Both events support the 26th running of the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen.

Although it was hot and humid, there were no thunderstorms Friday to spoil the action. The weather forecast for the weekend calls for temperatures some 20 degrees cooler, with predictions of highs in the mid-seventies instead of the low-nineties.

Driver quotes follow:

Terrick Mansur (starts first and fourth): "In the first session we had to scrub in our tires, and it was only the last three laps or so that I got a clean lap, but it was good enough for the pole.

"In the second qualifying session the back was sliding a little. We can fix the problem though.

"I've never raced here; just one test day, that's it."

Ricardo Vassmer (starts third in both events): "In the first qualifying session we had the quickest car, but traffic hurt us. Every lap I always caught somebody coming out of the Bus Stop.

"In the second qualifying session we tried something different. It was pushing at the beginning, but I came in and we made a shock adjustment and after that the car was great. I think I could have gotten the pole, but on my fastest lap I had to slow down because Doug Prendeville spun. If I would have come in sooner to make the change, we would have been even faster.

"It was just pushing a lot in the second session, but the change we made was great. The team did an awesome job.

"The car is a lot better than Road Atlanta. It turns a lot better and it's a better engine; everything is better.

"This is the first time I've raced here."

Noah Bystrom (starts sixth and second): "In the first session we had an overall balance issue. It was underbraking and it had a lot of oversteer, and we had a problem with the front shocks. We made a lot of changes between sessions and then in the second qualifying session we got P2.

"The car still needs a little work with the overall balance, but overall it's a lot better.

"I've never raced here before; yesterday was the first day I was on track."

Scott Willard (starts 22nd and 17th): "We were seventh or eighth in practice, but we missed the set-up for qualifying. I spun in the first qualifying session; I think it was Turn 10. Then in the second session I spun in the Bus Stop.

"We just missed the set-up, and we'll try to fix it for the race."

-credit: ar