CHAMPCAR/CART: Detroit Mercedes Qualifying Report

FedEx Championship Series Report Race: Detroit Grand Prix, The Raceway at Belle Isle Date/Session: Sat., Aug. 7, 1999 Final Qualifying Moore and Mercedes to Start Seventh at Detroit Player's/Forsythe driver Greg...

FedEx Championship Series Report

Race:           Detroit Grand Prix, The Raceway at Belle Isle
Date/Session:   Sat., Aug. 7, 1999      Final Qualifying

Moore and Mercedes to Start Seventh at Detroit

Player's/Forsythe driver Greg Moore recovered from a crash in practice this morning to qualify seventh for tomorrow's Detroit Grand Prix at the Raceway at Belle Isle. Juan Montoya will start on pole with a lap time of 73.585 seconds (114.773 mph). Moore's best lap was 74.020 seconds (114.099 mph).

Moore had qualified his Mercedes-Benz Champ Car fourth in provisional qualifying yesterday. But Moore had to withdraw that time after he was unable to avoid the car of Jan Magnussen, who crashed almost immediately in front of him while entering a corner in practice this morning. Moore's car suffered major damage, but he was uninjured. He switched to his backup car for final qualifying today, but was not able to regain his fourth spot on the grid.

Moore's Player's/Forsythe/Mercedes teammate, Patrick Carpentier, also qualified in the top 10 with a lap of 74.090 seconds (113.991 mph). He will start the race from the ninth spot on the grid. His qualifying effort was hampered by an incident with Marlboro Team Penske driver Gonzalo Rodriguez that took the front-right wing off Carpentier's race car. This is Rodriguez's first race in the CART series. He qualified 16th with a best lap of 75.034 seconds (112.557 mph).

PacWest/Hollywood/Mercedes driver Mauricio Gugelmin struggled with a lack of grip to earn the 13th position with a lap of 74.530 seconds (113.318 mph). His teammate, Mark Blundell, in his first race back in the PacWest/Motorola/Mercedes after missing several weeks due to an injury suffered during mid-season testing, qualified 15th with a lap of 74.877 seconds (112.793 mph).

        Helio Castro-Neves, driver for Hogan Racing, will start 18th thanks
to a 75.095-second lap (112.466 mph).  Marlboro Team Penske veteran Al
Unser Jr. will start 20th.  His best lap was 75.495 seconds (111.870 mph).

The race begins Sunday at 3 p.m., and it will be televised beginning at 4 p.m. on ABC-TV.

Mercedes Quotes

Greg Moore, No. 99, Player's/Forsythe Mercedes/Firestone (Seventh/74.020 seconds) "Today was better than yesterday, even though we had to throw away our time from yesterday due to our crash in practice this morning. The first thing we had to do today was go out and get a quick lap, and we did that. Still, I left about one-tenth or more out there. I was scrambling trying to get a clean lap. I think we could have jumped up to fifth. Passing in the race all depends on how you get through turns one and two, and how you are in braking for turn three. If you can get a good run through turn two, then you should be good to get around someone in turn three. (On his move to Marlboro Team Penske next season) "Roger (Penske) is one of the most successful businessmen in the world, but he's also a racer. I can see the competitiveness and fierceness in his eyes. He wants to win. You can see that in the drivers he has hired in me and Gil (de Ferran). This was something I thought long and hard over. It's a new challenge, and right now it is the best decision for me."

Patrick Carpentier, No. 33, Player's/Forsythe Mercedes/Firestone (Ninth/74.090 seconds) (On his qualifying incident with Gonzalo Rodriguez) " I thought he was going into the pits. I went inside of him. I thought he was letting me by. He closed in and I went up on him. I was on my good set of tires, so it really messed us up. That was going to be my peak lap. It's a shame. The car was good."

Mauricio Gugelmin, No. 17, PacWest Hollywood Mercedes/Firestone (13th/74.530 seconds) "We made progress because we had no dramas today. That allowed us to work on the car and make positive changes. We still need more front grip. We're going to think this through and make big changes as far as the chassis goes. Starting where we are, we'll have to be creative with our pit stops to move up. It all depends on how the cards fall and where the yellow flags come."

Gonzalo Rodriguez, No. 3, Marlboro Team Penske Mercedes/Goodyear (16th/75.034 seconds) "We made a lot of changes to the Marlboro Mercedes Lola this morning, but unfortunately we didn't have enough time to evaluate them properly. We lost power during the session, so our qualifying ended early. Even though I've only had two days in the Marlboro car, the team has done a great job to make me feel comfortable and adapt to Champ Car racing."

Mark Blundell, No. 18, PacWest Motorola Mercedes/Firestone (15th/74.877 seconds) "We made a couple of changes from the morning session, and one of the changes didn't work. None of us are very happy. We'll have a long race tomorrow. I'm very tired-not 100 percent race fit. I did as much as I could to prepare for this race. Tomorrow I'll just have to grit my teeth and make it to the checkered flag."

Helio Castro-Neves, No. 9, Hogan Racing Mercedes/Firestone (18th/75.095 seconds) "This morning was very good. It was hard to keep the tires up to temperature. We switched sets of tires, but then my safety belt came loose so we had to pit to fix that. There will probably be a lot of accidents, so we'll just have to be patient and work our way forward."

Al Unser Jr., No. 2, Marlboro Team Penske Mercedes/Goodyear (20th/75.495 seconds) "We improved the Marlboro Mercedes Lola by a lot today, and we were able to gain a second from yesterday'' time--unfortunately it wasn't quite enough. It's going to be a long race tomorrow, and hopefully we'll be there at the end."

Final Qualifying, Detroit Grand Prix The Raceway at Belle Isle, Detroit, Mich. Aug. 7, 1999

Pos.    Driver          Engine          Time    Speed
1       Juan Montoya    Honda           73.585  114.773
2       Paul Tracy      Honda           73.611  114.733
3       Gil de Ferran   Honda           73.789  114.456
4       Dario Franchitti        Honda           73.792  114.451
5       Robert Moreno   Ford            73.865  114.338
6       Tony Kanaan     Honda           73.958  114.195
7       Greg Moore      Mercedes-Benz   74.020  114.099
8       Michael Andretti        Ford            74.039  114.070
9       Patrick Carpentier      Mercedes-Benz   74.090  113.991
10      Max Papis               Ford            74.215  113.799
13      Mauricio Gugelmin       Mercedes-Benz   74.530  113.318
15      Mark Blundell   Mercedes-Benz   74.877  112.793
16      Gonzalo Rodriguez       Mercedes-Benz   75.034  112.557
18      Helio Castro-Neves      Mercedes-Benz   75.095  112.466
20      Al Unser Jr.    Mercedes-Benz   75.495  111.870

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jan Magnussen , Al Unser Jr. , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Max Papis , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Mauricio Gugelmin , Mark Blundell , Greg Moore , Gonzalo Rodriguez
Teams Team Penske