Reigning CART champion Gil de Ferran put together a perfect lap to collect his second straight pole position on the streets of Houston in dominating fashion. De Ferran's lap of 92.513 mph topped runner-up Bruno Junqueira of Ganassi Racing (91.707...
Reigning CART champion Gil de Ferran put together a perfect lap to collect his second straight pole position on the streets of Houston in dominating fashion. De Ferran's lap of 92.513 mph topped runner-up Bruno Junqueira of Ganassi Racing (91.707 mph). The time difference between first and second positions was more than a half-second, a huge margin in these days of ultra-tight competition.
Earning the pole also earned de Ferran a crucial point in the standings, moving him within five of leader Kenny Brack, who will start third in Sunday's race.
"Although conditions here have not been ideal the last couple days, the teams have been able to get the most out of their tires," said Joe Barbieri, Bridgestone/Firestone Motorsports Project Supervisor. "This tight street course features many 90-degree turns where the drivers must slow dramatically, then get on the power hard when they exit the corners. That puts extreme demands on the tires but the teams and drivers we've spoken to have told us the Firestone tires are doing the job. Congratulations go to Gil de Ferran and Team Penske on winning the pole in this competitive championship chase, and to Bruno Junqueira for overcoming their unusual incident with his teammate this morning to qualify second."
Gil de Ferran - Team Penske Honda/Reynard/Firestone: "It's good to score that point; it's something very, very important. Not only that, but it gives us the advantage on the racetrack starting up front. I'm very happy about today but we've still got a big job to do tomorrow. I think we're looking good, but I'm not taking anything for granted. I have to say that this track is usually very, very hard on tires, especially the rears, but for us this weekend the Firestone tires have been really consistent. On power down (out of the corners), they're working really well."
Qualifying session temperatures ranged from 74 to 81 degrees track and 69 to 72 degrees ambient (F).