CHAMPCAR/CART: Detroit GP Mercedes Friday Report

Player's/Forsythe driver Greg Moore and Mercedes-Benz earned the fourth spot on the grid during provisional qualifying today for the Detroit Grand Prix at the Raceway on Belle Isle Sunday, Aug. 8. Paul Tracy is the provisional pole-sitter...

Player's/Forsythe driver Greg Moore and Mercedes-Benz earned the fourth spot on the grid during provisional qualifying today for the Detroit Grand Prix at the Raceway on Belle Isle Sunday, Aug. 8. Paul Tracy is the provisional pole-sitter with a lap of 74.269 seconds (113.716 mph). Tracy, Juan Montoya and Michael Andretti stand between Moore and a second-consecutive pole at this race. Moore's best lap was 74.450 seconds (113.440 mph). Soon after completion of provisional qualifying, Marlboro Team Penske announced that Moore and Gil de Ferran will be the team's drivers for the 2000 CART FedEx Championship Series. The move will mark a return to the Mercedes family for de Ferran, who won his first CART race in 1995 at Laguna Seca (Monterey, Calif.) with Mercedes-Benz power. Moore's Player's/Forsythe teammate Patrick Carpentier, and PacWest Racing/Motorola pilot Mark Blundell, also used the Mercedes-Benz IC108E Phase III (E3) engine to earn spots in the top 10 during the first day of qualifying. Carpentier's best lap of 75.182 seconds (112.335 mph) temporarily puts him eighth on the grid. Meanwhile, Blundell was able to run a quick lap of 75.240 seconds (112.249 mph) in his first race back after missing several weeks due to an accident during testing earlier in the year. He is ninth in the field. Gonzalo Rodriguez was impressive in his first competitive outing in the Marlboro Team Penske Mercedes as teammate to Al Unser Jr., as he posted the 11th-fastest time at 75.432 seconds (111.963 mph). He is followed closely by Hogan Racing's Helio Castro-Neves, who recovered from a crash in turn two during morning practice to post the 12th-best time of 75.581 seconds (111.742 mph). PacWest Racing/Hollywood/Mercedes driver Mauricio Gugelmin was 16th in the field despite minor braking and tire problems. He posted a best lap of 75.955 seconds (111.192 mph). Unser Jr. posted the 18th-quickest time today with a 76.423-second lap (110.511 mph). Practice resumes tomorrow morning at 9 a.m., while final qualifying begins at 1:30 p.m. The race begins Sunday at 3 p.m., and it will be televised beginning at 4 p.m. on ABC-TV.

Greg Moore, No. 99, Player's/Forsythe Mercedes/Firestone (Fourth/74.450 seconds) "We had a good practice this morning. I think we're looking pretty good for qualifying. I missed it in a couple of spots, so there are a couple of tenths more we can get out there. We learned a few things out there for tomorrow."

Patrick Carpentier, No. 33, Player's/Forsythe Mercedes/Firestone (Eighth/75.182 seconds) "It's not too bad. We had a loose condition, but the car was fairly decent. We can go faster tomorrow. We can make improvements and be far better. We're working on it pretty hard. We'll try to be in the top 10 tomorrow."

Mark Blundell, No. 18, PacWest Motorola Mercedes/Firestone (Ninth/75.240 seconds) "It's not Sunday afternoon, so we'll have to wait and see. I'm taking it step by step. We'll see if we can push ourselves up in the group. I'm not race fit yet, but the only way to get race fit is to get back in the car. I'm feeling it physically. But, what I lack physically I hope to make up for in determination."

Helio Castro-Neves, No. 9, Hogan Racing Mercedes/Firestone (12th/75.581 seconds) "Turn two is really tricky. I was so comfortable in the beginning, but the car just snapped around and the rear went straight into the wall. When you have a big hit like that it takes a while to recover. This track is tough. We have to get back to where we are comfortable and confident again. I know we have a fantastic car. I just needed a little more time."

Mauricio Gugelmin, No. 17, PacWest Hollywood Mercedes/Firestone (16th/75.955 seconds) "We had a few dramas this morning. We had a leaking seal. We had a brake problem. We were chasing the balance a little bit. We used the setup we had for Toronto and it was terrible. We made some improvements. We just had a bad day."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Patrick Carpentier , Mauricio Gugelmin , Mark Blundell , Greg Moore , Gonzalo Rodriguez
Teams Team Penske