CHAMPCAR/CART: Gold Coast Ford Racing Saturday Qualifying Notes

ONCE, TWICE, THREE TIMES, IT'S HERTA For the third consecutive race Bryan Herta's Shell Ford will start on the front row. Herta, breaking the front wing of his car on his qualifying run, managed to hang on and score his fourth front...


For the third consecutive race Bryan Herta's Shell Ford will start on the front row. Herta, breaking the front wing of his car on his qualifying run, managed to hang on and score his fourth front row start in the last six events and along with Dario Franchitti, lead the field to the green flag tomorrow.

Andretti, who slipped to fifth after posting the second quick lap yesterday doesn't believe his run today is indicative of what his performance will be tomorrow.

BRYAN HERTA -8- Shell Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 2nd - "I got a few good laps in on my first set of tires which helps because it gives you the freedom on the second set of tires to take some chances and that seems to be what pays off here. On my second set of tires I was using the curbs more and on my second timed lap I caught the cone in the Fosters chicane and broke the front wing which ended my session. I was really pleased with the car and being on the front row." IS IT EASIER FOR YOU TO FOCUS WITH ALL OF THE ATTENTION ON THE CHAMPIONSHIP FIGHT? "It's probably the most interesting and exciting thing going on right now. It's probably kind of tough for those guys right now to have the focus on them. But, it does take a little of the focus off of me and the other guys. It's allows us to work under the cover of darkness without so much spotlight on you." SINCE YOUR WIN AT LAGUNA SECA, YOUR PERFORMANCE HAS REALLY TAKEN OFF. HOW MUCH IS THAT HELPING YOUR SEARCH FOR A RIDE NEXT YEAR? "It can't hurt for next year. I am still talking to a number of people and hopefully closing in on something. But having good performances on the race track is really the best thing for me right now. I just need to stay focused and I think the people that need drivers next year know that I am available. Hopefully sooner than later things will happen so I can put things to rest."

MAX PAPIS -7- Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 11th - YOU SPUN AND CAUGHT THE WALL DURING THE SESSION, HOW BAD WAS THE CAR DAMAGED? "We have been struggling with the brakes all weekend. They keep fading on me. We managed to improve the car a bunch from yesterday, but unfortunately, we had the incident during the session and I didn't have the chance to improve my time. The car is not that bad, I think we can get it fixed in time for the race tomorrow."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI -6- K Mart/Texaco/Havoline Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 5th - "I ran into Vasser on the track when I was on my fast lap and that cost me. I had a lap going that was fast enough to put me in third on the grid for tomorrow. The thing that is difficult here is that if you get blocked on a fast lap it takes so long to get back around to go after it again. We can win from fifth but we need to race smart. It's difficult to pass out there but we can still win from fifth." CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI -11- Big K Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 13th - WHAT HAPPENED THAT CAUSED YOU TO SPIN GOING INTO THE CHICANE? "I was trying to put one more lap together on my set of tires and they just went away on me. We have struggled a bit getting the tires to come in. I have not been able to get the tires to work right for me this weekend. Overall, starting 13th is not the ideal place to be but I think we can pick our way through the field tomorrow. I can pass here and that's what we are going to have to do."

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ -40- Tecate/Quaker State Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 7th - "We made some big gains today. Posting the fastest time in the first session and the second fastest time overall after the first session was good, it will give us the chance to win the race tomorrow. The conditions improved a lot from yesterday and we were able to hit the setup." IT IS RATHER HOT AND HUMID OUT HERE TODAY, AND IT IS EXPECTED TO BE THE SAME TOMORROW. HOW WILL THAT AFFECT YOU? "I THINK WE WILL BE OKAY TOMORROW IN REGARDS TOT HE HEAT. This is a very physical track to drive, so I am going to need to make sure that I drink plenty of water, but I don't see it being a problem. You have to be a little concerned with the brakes and things like that but we have raced in those conditions before." YOU CURRENTLY ARE IN A FIGHT FOR FIFTH IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP, HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO GET THE POINTS? "I have to finish ahead of Christian (Fittipaldi) and Max (Papis) who are the guys I can catch. We just have to do our best every weekend and hopefully at the end of the day we will finish fifth in the points which will be a great accomplishment for us after missing four races."

JAN MAGNUSSEN -20- Visteon Ford-Cosworth - Qualified 19th - "I am pretty happy with where we are with the car. I got screwed up on my fast lap by another car, it would have been a very good one. I am disappointed I could not qualify higher because it is going to be really tough to pass tomorrow."

MEMO GIDLEY -71- Herdez Viva Mexico Ford - Qualified 21st - "Our car is the best it has been all weekend. The other part of it for me is getting my timing down and getting use to the track. We will be better off tomorrow but I wish we could have been better today." THIS TRACK IS UNLIKE ANY OTHER THE SERIES RACES ON WHEN YOU TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION ALL OF THE CHICANES. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO HIT THEM RIGHT? DO THE CHICANES MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT TO DO THE PERFECT LAP? "The difference between a chicane on a road course and a road course that does not have one is basically the same difference between a road course and oval. In an oval you have a real long turn and everything happens real slow motion. Then you go to a road course turn and things happen a lot quicker. Well with a chicane you really have two corners in the distance of forty yards which is usually the distance of one corner. In a chicane things happen so quick that if you miss it, even by a couple of inches or place you car off line just a little bit, it throws you off for the whole lap and puts you just that much further behind on the lap. With the kind of curbs that are here you really launch over them to gain a little extra time and that takes some getting use to as well."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Dario Franchitti , Bryan Herta