CHAMPCAR/CART: Fittipaldi, Andretti in top nine at Laguna Seca

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, ...

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford Lola:
PROVISIONAL QUALIFYING POSITION: 5th
TIME: 68.627

* NOTES:  Fittipaldi has run in the top-four in the past eight races    
but only finished three times which were two 3rd place finishes and a   
fourth. Did not compete in Laguna last year due to a testing accident   
at Gateway Intl. when his transmission failed.  Will be his fifth start 
at Laguna Seca.  Retired with mechanical failure in two of four starts. 
His highest finish here is a ninth place in 1998 and his highest start  
is eighth in 1996.                                                      

"I'm pretty happy with qualifying considering we had to park the car with eight minutes to go because we had a tripod break with five minutes to go in qualifying in Vancouver and brought out the red flag. We had an eight-minute penalty carried over for stopping qualifying with five minutes to go at the last race. We were lucky to hold the fifth fastest time considering the penalty. It was tough to sit out the end of the session because that is usually the time everyone posts their fastest laps."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI, # 6 Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford-Cosworth Lola
PROVISIONAL QUALIFYING POSITION: 9th
TIME: 68.818

* NOTES: Will be his 17th start at Monterey. Has won two races (1991, 1992) and scored one second-place finish (1988) and three third place finishes ('84, '86, 90) as well as a total of 12 top-10 finishes. Also has scored two poles here in '91, '92. Has led a total of 179 laps at Monterey. Calls his favorite race the 1991 event at Laguna where he won the pole, led every lap, won the race and clinched the championship as well as finished on the podium with his father Mario. He also won the invitational Marlboro Challenge from the pole the same weekend.

"The car was not good. It's not right yet. It hurt us not having this morning work out. We lost time on a few things that we did not try. Tomorrow is going to be tough because it's going to be hotter. We just have to work hard overnight and get this car sorted out. The points are tight so it will be important to qualify up front and have a flawless race. There is no room for mistakes with only five races to go. We have given too many points away this season already. We can't afford to give away any more."

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Series IndyCar