CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto Team Kool Green Saturday Report

FRANCHITTI WINS THE POLE AT THE MOLSON INDY TORONTO, Ont., - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti won the pole at the Molson Indy, speeding around the 1.721-mile street circuit in 58.694 seconds at 105.558 mph. Franchitti is the first driver to...

FRANCHITTI WINS THE POLE AT THE MOLSON INDY

TORONTO, Ont., - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti won the pole at the Molson Indy, speeding around the 1.721-mile street circuit in 58.694 seconds at 105.558 mph. Franchitti is the first driver to win consecutive poles in Toronto, having won here as a rookie in 1997. It's also his second pole of the season (Brazil) and his third consecutive start from the front row.

Franchitti's fast lap came with 11 minutes remaining in the session. He pitted shortly thereafter for a fresh set of tires, but a tire puncture eventually stranded him in Turn 1. Franchitti sat in his car as cars flew around the track and the crew kept him informed by radio, while he waited to see if anyone could beat his time.

Alex Zanardi was the biggest threat to take the pole away, but he could not improve upon his lap from yesterday of 58.737 seconds at 105.480 mph. Michael Andretti did go faster, but could do no better than third fastest with a time of 58.748 seconds at 105.461 mph. Meanwhile, Paul Tracy powered his KOOL car to the 10th best time of 59.361 seconds at 104.372 mph.

Tomorrow's 95-lap race begins at 2:00 p.m., with ABC-TV providing tape-delay coverage beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET.

DARIO FRANCHITTI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN REYNARD/HONDA/FIRESTONE: (1st with a lap-time of 58.694 seconds at 105.558 mph)

"I really think we're strong enough now to go out and score my first win. It was weird because the track was slippery today. Yesterday, when it was raining, it had a lot of grip. So, I'm kind of surprised that we did that time. I just went out and stood on it."

PAUL TRACY, #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN REYNARD/HONDA/FIRESTONE: (10th with a lap-time of 59.361 seconds at 104.372 mph)

"The session was good, but not very good. It was frustrating. On both of my quick laps, the red flag came out. And the way the tires are now, if you don't get a good lap on the one lap the tires are at their best, it's over. The car is pretty good. We'll see what we can learn from Dario (Franchitti) and try to get the car as good as we can for the race."

QUALIFYING FOR THE PPG-DAYTON INDY LIGHTS CHAMPIONSHIP:

Rookie Guy Smith won his second pole position of the season, powering his way around the Toronto streets in 1:05.162 seconds at 95.080 mph. Chris Simmons, who receives sponsorship assistance from KOOL, was second fastest with a lap of 1:05.167 seconds at 95.073 mph. Team KOOL Green's Naoki Hattori had his best effort of the season. He will start third on the grid, clocking the circuit in 1:05.180 seconds at 95.054 mph. Tomorrow's 43-lap race begins at 11:30 a.m. ET.

NAOKI HATTORI, #27 TEAM KOOL GREEN LOLA: (3rd with a lap-time of 1:05.180 seconds at 95.054 mph) "When I put new tires on I had a little understeer. But I'm still excited to be near the front. I think we have a good race car. I'll try to hold my position into turn one tomorrow and maybe try pass Guy (Smith)."

KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP RACE:

Much to the delight of the Molson Indy crowd, Alex Tagliani led an all-Canadian podium finish with his teammate Lee Bentham as runner-up and Kenny Wilden in third. KOOL-sponsored driver Matt Sielsky started sixth, but worked hard to climb his way to four th. For his efforts, Sielsky won KOOL Rookie Challenge Award as the highest-finishing rookie.

MATT SIELSKY, #16 LCI INTERNATIONAL SWIFT-TOYOTA: (Started 6th / Finished 4th)

"It's great to be back in the top five and score some points in the championship. I wish we had more green flag laps. It seemed the longer the run, the better my car was. We made a gear change right before the race and we ran out of revs in fifth gear on the straight. But I was really happy with the car, the weekend and the team. Now I'm looking forward to Trois Rivieres."

-------------------------- NetAxis -------------------------- --- NetAxis is MNI's ISP of choice at the '98 Molson Indy --- ---- Toronto -- Montreal -- 514-482-8989 -- 888-482-8989 ---- ----------------- http://www.netaxis.ca/ --------------------

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About this article
Series Atlantic , IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Guy Smith , Michael Andretti , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Alex Zanardi , Naoki Hattori , Lee Bentham