CHAMPCAR/CART: Detroit Sunday warm up in the wet

DETROIT -- In racing, rain is the great equalizer. Sunday morning's warmup session for the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit confirmed it to be true. The race should not be a battle between man and nature, however. Like last...

DETROIT -- In racing, rain is the great equalizer. Sunday morning's warmup session for the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit confirmed it to be true.

The race should not be a battle between man and nature, however. Like last year's title fight, the seventh race of the 2000 season is shaping up as another battle between front row tenants Juan Montoya and Dario Franchitti.

The session was a guessing game for teams, as they formulated an approach to compensate for the unpredictable turn in weather. While Saturday was sunny and warm, Sunday is wet and cool.

Roberto Moreno seemed to have a handle on it, though. He led the conservative 30-minute session, with a time of 1:28.438, well behind Montoya's pole-winning mark of 1:13.056. He averaged just 95.497 mph for the lap, turning 12 of them. Montoya followed him, at 1:28.452, in just five laps. Cristiano da Matta, who spoke earlier in the morning of his affection for wet weather driving, was 3rd at 1:28.667.

Da Matta was spotted sloshing his way through a muddy paddock at about 8 am ET. When asked about the conditions, he smiled.

"I lived and drove in England for two years," he said. "This weather is fine with me. You just have to be a bit more careful."

The skies were dry when the 30-minute session began, but the track was wet. As a result, some teams ran treaded tires, while others opted for the slicks they will likely use in the race.

Takuya Kurosawa ran the Firestone rain tire and was quick on it. He was fifth-fastest, one behind Christian Fittipaldi. Both of them took nine laps.

Gil de Ferran (1:29.289s.), Norberto Fontana (1:29.512s.), Tarso Marques (1:29.735s.), Kenny Brack (1:29.913s.) and Dario Franchitti (1:30.105s.) rounded out the top 10.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Tarso Marques , Roberto Moreno , Christian Fittipaldi , Dario Franchitti , Kenny Brack , Takuya Kurosawa , Norberto Fontana , Cristiano da Matta