Ricardo Zonta blows away at home.
The Brazilian battled against Couto for pole position in Curitiba; Montagny and Leinders with problems.
Curitiba, 30 November 2002 - Ricardo Zonta took the pole position in the first qualifying session at the Autódromo Internacional de Curitiba (Brasil) that holds the 8th round of the Telefónica World Series by Nissan. The Brazilian driver will share first row with Andre Couto, Peter Sundberg and Narain Karthikeyan will start from second row for the first time. Franck Montagny and Bas Leinders, who are battling for the second place in Championship standings, will start back in the grid. Qualifying 2 starts at 14:30 and ends at 15:15 (local time).
The changing weather has been an upset guest in Curitiba. It has been raining hard just minutes before the qualifying session began although the sun has shined when it has started. The drivers started the session in wet track conditions and then pitted as the track was getting dry.
During the wet track, Zonta preferred to stay at box. The Brazilian, who was proclaimed champion in Valencia, steadily pulled away to score hi 6th pole of the season after improving from free practice. But it was not easy: he battled against Andre Couto, who had been the fastest during free practice in the morning. Zonta and his FC Barcelona-backed Gabord Competicion car lapped 1m10.092 seconds, 0.339 clear of Couto. The Spanish Peter Sundberg (he was born in Sweden) slipped to third in qualifying for race one, his best result this season, and Narain Karthikeyan was fourth ahead of Justin Wilson, reigning FIA Formula 3000 champion, and Sperafico.
Leinders and Montagny took poor positions here at Curitiba: the Belgium driver just completed one lap due to a problem with the gearbox and will start from the back row. He is confident to the second session. On the other hand, the French driver, who changed the engine this morning, ended the qualifying in 12th place, more than a second behind Zonta.
Ricardo Zonta claimed the "torcida" support on Sunday, not only to assist an astonishing meeting but also to contribute an action of solidarity: anyone carrying 1 kg of food will have free access. The food will be destined to a campaign named "Christmas without hunger".
The local supporters want a Brazilian driver to be champion. Their favourite is Zonta, who was born in this city of the Paraná state 26 years ago, and also Tuka Rocha, Rodrigo Sperafico and Jaime Melo (they are from Paraná too) and Wagner Ibrahim from Sao Paulo. The US driver Paul Edwards and Milka Duno from Venezuela are rookies in the main category of Telefónica World Series by Nissan.
The schedule for tomorrow (local time) Tomorrow, the first World Series race will take place at 10:30 (22 laps) and the second race will be at 13:00 (33 laps with a compulsory pit stop).
<pre> Grid race 1 1. Ricardo Zonta (BRA) Gabord Competición 1:10.095 2. Andre Couto (MAC) Vergani Racing 1:10.434 / 0.339 3. Peter Sundberg (SWE) Tata RC Motorsport 1:10.651 / 0.556 4. Narain Karthikeyan (IND) Tata RC Motorsport 1:10.730 / 0.635 5. Justin Wilson (GBR) Racing Engineering 1:10.792 / 0.697 6. Rodrigo Sperafico (BRA) Repsol Meycom 1:10.811 / 0.716 7. Jean C. Ravier (FRA) Epsilon by Graff 1:10.903 / 0.808 8. Polo Villaamil (SPA) Adrián Campos Motors. 1:10.918 / 0.823 9. Tuka Rocha (BRA) Gabord Competición 1:10.939 / 0.844 10. Antonio García (SPA) Adrián Campos Motors. 1:11.125 / 1.030 11. Wagner Ibrahim (BRA) GD Racing 1:11.201 / 1.106 12. Franck Montagny (FRA) Racing Engineering 1:11.238 / 1.143 13. Roberto González (MEX) GD Racing 1:11.339 / 1.244 14. Paul Edwards (USA) KTR 1:11.422 / 1.327 15. Ander Vilariño (SPA) Epsilon by Graff 1:11.422 / 1.327