Boys grom Belo Horizonte fast at Elkhart Lake; da Matta and Junqueira lead 5-car Lola time trials sweep. Provisional qualifying for the 21st CART Motorola 220 at Road America, the 4.048-mile traditional road course in rural Wisconsin belonged to...
Boys grom Belo Horizonte fast at Elkhart Lake; da Matta and Junqueira lead 5-car Lola time trials sweep.
Provisional qualifying for the 21st CART Motorola 220 at Road America, the 4.048-mile traditional road course in rural Wisconsin belonged to Cristiano da Matta and Bruno Junqueira, who set quick times on a sunny Friday afternoon with air temps edging 86-90 and track temperatures from 105-110 degrees. Preparing for 60 laps of competition, da Matta used his final tour (of 10) to pip Junqueira, taking the #6 Havoline Lola/Toyota to lap at 1 minute 42.640 seconds (141.980mph). That tour was just .104 seconds better than Junqueira's lap of 1 minute 42.744 seconds (141.836mph) in the #4 Team Target Lola/Toyota. Ten of eighteen qualifiers turned times within one second.
"My two runs were pretty smooth without too much traffic," shrugged da Matta. "I was impressed with Bruno's time," which stood for nearly a quarter of the hour-long session. "I had to push harder but the car was easier to drive on the second run." Junqueira admitted his Lola "was pretty good from the morning practice. I love this track. It has every kind of corner." Junqueira earned his first CART victory here last August.
Dario Franchitti gained the third quickest lap in the #27 Team KOOL Green Lola/Honda on his final of 12 laps at 1 minute 42.990 seconds (141.497mph). He turned the second- quickest lap in morning practice. "I got it together on my final lap, but the track was like an ice rink out of Canada corner and into the next complex of turns. It's always good to be near the front," he smiled.
Adrian Fernandez returned to competition in the #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Lola/Honda today, taking fourth place with a lap of 1 minute 43.053 seconds (141.411mph). While his car wasn't at its best in morning practice, "since then the car has been very good and very consistent. I think the hard work [in therapy] since the accident (at Vancouver) is paying off." Scott Dixon was fifth in the #44 Team Target Lola/Toyota with a tour of 1 minute 43.083 seconds (141.370mph), the quiet Kiwi improving from 10th place in practice and using 11 of his allocated 15 laps to come up with a quick time.
Showers are predicted for Saturday qualifying, which will be shown live on Speed Channel at 1:45pm CDT. Da Matta, with one point for being fastest today is guaranteed a front row start for Sunday's race says, "We want to go out and get another point tomorrow in final qualifying. After not scoring many points in the last three races, we know how valuable each and every one is."