CHAMPCAR/CART: Elkhart Lake Mercedes Friday Qualifying Report

Mercedes-Benz teammates Patrick Carpentier and Greg Moore were third- and fifth-quickest during provisional qualifying today for Sunday's Texaco/Havoline 200 at the 4.048-mile Road America permanent road circuit. The pair, and four...

Mercedes-Benz teammates Patrick Carpentier and Greg Moore were third- and fifth-quickest during provisional qualifying today for Sunday's Texaco/Havoline 200 at the 4.048-mile Road America permanent road circuit. The pair, and four other drivers powered by Mercedes-Benz IC108E Phase III (E3) V8s, will have another shot to better provisional polesitter Michael Andretti's time of 101.354 seconds (143.781 mph) during tomorrow afternoon's final qualifying session.

Carpentier's fastest lap today in his No. 33 Player's/Forsythe Mercedes was 101.869 seconds (143.054 mph), good enough for third position on the grid so far. After posting the quick time on his eighth lap, the Canadian spun out and barrel-rolled five times through the gravel trap outside turn one, making contact with a retaining wall. Carpentier exited the car under his own power, but was taken to CART's Medical Facility for evaluation. Moore, who is currently fifth in the driver's championship points standings, posted a provisional qualifying time of 102.016 seconds (142.848 mph) for fifth place.

Marlboro Team Penske's Al Unser Jr. lapped Road America in 102.583 seconds (142.059 mph) for 13th position on the grid, while Hogan Racing Mercedes pilot Helio Castro-Neves is 15th thanks to a lap of 102.749 seconds (141.829 mph).

Mark Blundell, injured earlier this season, had expected to return to the cockpit of the PacWest Motorola Mercedes, but at the advice of the CART medical team, decided to stand down for another three races. Roberto Moreno, who had been substituting for Blundell, arrived too late to participate in the morning practice session, but completed a provisional qualifying lap this afternoon of 104.577 seconds (139.350 mph). PacWest Hollywood Mercedes pilot Mauricio Gugelmin was second quick in the morning practice before suffering mechanical problems in the afternoon which rendered him unable to post a provisional qualifying time.

CART practice continues tomorrow morning, and final qualifying will be held from 1:45 to 3:00 p.m. (EDT). The green flag for the Texaco/Havoline 200 will wave Sunday, July 11, at 2 p.m. (EDT). The race will be televised live on ABC-TV.

Mercedes Quotes

Patrick Carpentier, No. 33, Player's/Forsythe Mercedes/Firestone (Third/101.869 seconds) (via radio to his team) "It's me. We're done."

Greg Moore, No. 99, Player's/Forsythe Mercedes/Firestone (Fifth/102.016 seconds) "This is a track where you need a car that handles well on the quick turns, and the Player's team has given me that. We've learned some things from the testing last month, and we'll also capitalize on what we learned this morning. We scrubbed one set of tires, but we couldn't use them because Pat's crash ended the session. Tomorrow we can take more chances."

Al Unser Jr., No. 2, Marlboro Team Penske/Mercedes/Goodyear (13th/102.583 seconds) "We're getting better driveability with the Marlboro Mercedes Lola. We've still got some understeer to sort out, but I think we're heading in the right direction."

Helio Castro-Neves, No. 9, Hogan Racing Mercedes/Firestone (15th/102.749 seconds) "The car was looking strong, and we were getting good times with our first set of tires. I have to think about tomorrow and try to go quick again. I'm not looking for a lot of luck*.just a little bit."

Roberto Moreno, No. 18, Motorola Mercedes/Firestone (24th/104.577 seconds) "This was more of a warm up to get me used to the car. A couple of the corners were pretty slippery, but basically it's the same Elkhart Lake I love."

Mauricio Gugelmin, No. 17, Hollywood Mercedes/Firestone (26th/no time) "This morning the car had a lot of push. But we made some good calls with the set up, and we were getting close to the way I like it, but then unfortunately we ran out of time. This afternoon, we just had bad luck. We had a problem regulating the boost, and then we lost fuel pressure on the back-up car. Those problems, combined with the red flag periods, left us with no chance to get a timed lap."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Roberto Moreno , Patrick Carpentier , Mauricio Gugelmin , Mark Blundell , Greg Moore
Teams Team Penske