DETROIT (May 23, 2001) - Marlboro Team Penske driver Gil de Ferran, the defending FedEx Series champion, was placed on probation for four races by CART Chief Steward Chris Kneifel for multiple infractions that occurred at last week's Firestone ...
DETROIT (May 23, 2001) - Marlboro Team Penske driver Gil de Ferran, the defending FedEx Series champion, was placed on probation for four races by CART Chief Steward Chris Kneifel for multiple infractions that occurred at last week's Firestone Firehawk 500 at Twin Ring Motegi in Motegi, Japan.
The initial violations occurred during Friday's pole qualifying when de Ferran was notified by CART officials that he had exceeded the 50-mile-per-hour pit-lane speed limit as he exited for his qualifying run and would forfeit the second of his qualifying laps as a penalty per CART rules. De Ferran, however, ignored the penalty and completed both qualifying laps despite his first being his only official one.
Kneifel cited de Ferran for the following violations: exceeding the pit lane speed limit (Rule 5.3.2A pursuant to 6.7.7), ignoring the checkered flag (6.10.8), failure to follow the instructions of the officials (1.7.5) and failure to respond to official notices (6.3).
De Ferran also was cited for violations stemming from the late stages of Saturday's Firestone Firehawk 500 when there was an apparent fire and fluid leaking from the rear of his Champ Car. He was black flagged by CART officials, but ignored the notice and continued at full speed for another lap before Kneifel stopped any further scoring on de Ferran's Champ Car. De Ferran then brought the Marlboro Honda Reynard into the pit lane.
He was cited for ignoring the black flag (6.10.3), failure to respond to official notices (6.3) and unjustifiable risk (8.13), which was attributed to not responding immediately to the black flag and imposing potential risk to himself and fellow competitors.
"Based on this pattern of failing to comply with the instructions of the officials on two occasions, Gil was placed on probation," Kneifel said. "Assuming he is in compliance with following the instructions of the officials over this probation period, there should not be any additional problems."
De Ferran's probation period will run from next week's Miller Lite 225 at The Milwaukee Mile through the July 1 Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Firstar at Burke Lakefront Airport.
In an unrelated decision, the $5,000 fines levied to Cristiano da Matta of Newman/Haas Racing, Paul Tracy of Team KOOL Green and Helio Castroneves of Marlboro Team Penske for violating post-race protocol regarding Winner's Circle have been rescinded following additional review. Da Matta's and Tracy's post-race situations occurred at the season-opening race in Monterrey, Mexico while Castroneves' occurred at Long Beach.