PAPIS EARNS FIRST POLE POSITION SINCE 1999 - Team Rahal driver Max Papis clinched the pole position for tomorrow's Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 with a qualifying lap of 57.785 seconds (122.669 mph). The pole is Papis' first since 1999 at Chicago,...
PAPIS EARNS FIRST POLE POSITION SINCE 1999 - Team Rahal driver Max Papis clinched the pole position for tomorrow's Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 with a qualifying lap of 57.785 seconds (122.669 mph). The pole is Papis' first since 1999 at Chicago, and his first CART pole on a road course. Cristiano da Matta will start second (57.866 seconds; 122.497 mph), followed by Helio Castroneves (57.944 seconds; 122.332 mph), Scott Dixon (57.962 seconds; 122.294 seconds) and Dario Franchitti (58.057 seconds; 122.094 mph). Papis, who posted his pole-winning time during the first qualifying session, will lead a field which has the top 22 drivers separated by just one second.
KENNY BRACK TO START 22ND AFTER MECHANICAL FAILURE - Championship points leader Kenny Brack was forced to jump into his backup car during qualifying after suffering an exhaust system failure caused by a possible ignition system malfunction. After sitting out the mandatory eight-minute penalty for stopping the session (engine fire), he managed to record four laps before the checkered flag flew.
NOTEWORTHY - Max Papis' pole position is the fourth of the season for Ford-Cosworth, and its second on a road course. Papis' teammate, Kenny Brack, has earned Ford-Cosworth's other three pole positions thus far in 2001 (Mexico, Texas and Milwaukee) ... Ford-Cosworth has now scored five pole positions at Portland since 1992 (Nigel Mansell - '93, Jacques Villeneuve - '95, Scott Pruett - '97 and Bryan Herta - '98) ... Ford-Cosworth's four pole positions this season is the most since it had four in 1999 (Brazil, Road America, Chicago and Laguna Seca).
MAX PAPIS (#7 Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 1st
DID THE AERO MODIFICATIONS MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE FOR YOU TODAY?"
No, that's not the situation. In Detroit we experimented with a lot of things and started from way back on the grid, but now we have the car back to where I like it and Mad Max is here!"
WHAT DOES THE CAR DO THAT YOU LIKE?"
I like it when the front end doesn't have too much understeer, and today it paid off a lot." ARE YOU SURPRISED THAT YOU HELD ON FOR THE POLE?"
I'm never really surprised, but today was great proof that the team - today we weren't just first, but we were first because we came through a very difficult time. We believe in ourselves, we believe in the Ford engine that has supported us, and everybody on the crew never gave up on the situation even when it was difficult."
YOU POSTED THE FASTEST LAP IN THE FIRST GROUP AND NOBODY COULD ANSWER THE CHALLENGE."
I told you, 'please follow me,' and everybody followed me."
YOU STARTED OFF SLOWLY THIS WEEKEND, BUT YOU'VE GRADUALLY GOTTEN FASTER AND FASTER."
I'm the same person that qualified penultimate in Detroit, and we just have a great belief in ourselves and I am very proud today. We weren't just first on the track - we were first off the track because it's great proof that we came out of difficulties always believing in ourselves. For me, today means a lot more than just winning the pole position."
A LOT OF OTHER DRIVERS - ALEX ZANARDI, TONY KANAAN, DARIO FRANCHITTI - STOPPED BY TO OFFER THEIR CONGRATULATIONS."
I have some friends here, and they are true friends when we are outside the track, but when we are on the track we give each other hell. That's what it's all about for me in sports. I have my values, I always stick with my values and as I always say, weakness is not a smile. For some people it is, but for it isn't."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's/ Forsythe Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 10th -
HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO OVERTAKE HERE?"
It's always difficult when you run at the front with these guys because everybody's at about the same speed and it's always hard to pull out and pass. Hopefully I can get a decent start and we can gather up some points. If we can score a top three or a top five finish, that would be a great weekend."
DID YOU HOPE TO QUALIFY HIGHER?"
I was hoping to do a little better. The car had good grip this morning, but for some reason the sun came out and we lost the" side bite" (lateral grip) in the car. I couldn't attack the corners as much as I wanted to, but 10th is not bad and I'm very happy for the team. Look at (Gil) de Ferran. He's 18th, and I don't think they expected that from the speed he had this morning. This series is so competitive and the track conditions changed. If the conditions change too much your car changes and it goes very quickly, but 10th is good, we gave it a good effort and we'll see for tomorrow."
KENNY BRACK (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 22nd
NO DOUBT A DISAPPOINTING QUALIFYING SESSION."
That's life, and there was nothing we could do about it. I think we just have to focus on the race now and see what we can do from 22nd on the grid."
DOES IT GIVE YOU SOME FLEXIBILILTY IN TERMS OF A RACE STRATEGY?"
I don't know, we'll see. I really don't know and we haven't thought that far ahead yet, so we'll have to wait and see what things look like."
TALK ABOUT HOW HARD IT WILL BE TO COME TO THE FRONT ON A TRACK THAT'S HARD TO PASS ON."
Yeah, it is, it's very difficult to pass here, but we'll see what happens."
ORIOL SERVIA (#22 Sigma Autosport Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 14th
WHERE DID YOU FIND SOME SPEED AFTER STRUGGLING MOST OF THE WEEKEND?"
We've been improving for most of the weekend, but I still don't think we are where we want to be and we still have to improve a little bit. That last lap I did was almost like a"
lap, but if we did it once we can do it a lot more laps. This track has been tough on our set up and we are trying to change and accommodate it to the track, although it hasn't been easy. I think everybody has a little bit of understeer like we are, and we're going to have to improve it for tomorrow."
DID YOU GET EVERYTHING YOU COULD OUT OF THE CAR?"
I honestly think I did. I overdrove the car on probably three laps, and I just put it together on my last lap with no mistakes."
ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Player's/ Forsythe Ford-Cosworth) - Qualified 20th - HOW MUCH DID THE EIGHT MINUTE PENALTY HURT YOU?"
It hurt us a lot. I was third when I parked the car and I ended up dropping six or seven spots. Third in my group would've been good on the starting grid considering that the second group always goes faster but I ended up ninth because of the penalty, so it was very big."