Friday 16 October 1998 Alex Zanardi Fastest in Practice Christine Hogan - Motorsport News International An eventful morning practice session for the CART series started under partly cloudy skies in Surfers Paradise, Australia. At the start...
Friday 16 October 1998
Alex Zanardi Fastest in Practice Christine Hogan - Motorsport News International
An eventful morning practice session for the CART series started under partly cloudy skies in Surfers Paradise, Australia. At the start of the morning session, the track temperature was 118F, with an ambient temperature of 78F.
The Team Kool Green cars of Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy led the rush onto the track when the green flag flew at 10:30 am. Within the first 15 minutes of the session start there had been two red flags. The first, just 7 minute into the session, was caused by Scott Pruett making contact with the tire wall at turn 12, having earlier made light contact with the wall at turn 2. He pitted without damage to the car, but the session was stopped in order to rebuild the tire wall at turn 12.
The second more lengthily red was caused by oil on the track from Al Unser, Jr.'s car which was black-flagged after smoke was spotted coming from the rear. The session was stopped for 13 minutes after drivers reported oil on the racing line. At this point in the session the leaders were Dario Franchitti with a 1:39.518, Greg Moore with a 1:43.760 and Bobby Rahal with a 1:49.788.
30 minutes into the session, Greg Moore had moved to the top of the leader board with a 1:39.040, followed by Dario Franchitti with Jimmy Vasser moving into third with a 1:39.831. At 11:04, just 8 minutes after the green flag was shown, the red flag came out again. This time it was for Paul Tracy who went off in turn 10 damaging the right hand side of his car. It was towed back to the pits as his pit crew ready his second car. At this point in the session, Alex Zanardi was fastest in his #1X car. His time was 1:36.649, ahead of Greg Moore on 1:36.905 and Michael Andretti with a 1:37.747 also in his X car.
The session resumed after 8 minutes only to be stopped again 5 minutes later as Adrian Fernandez made contact with the walls at turn 11. He was uninjured, but his car needed to be towed back to the pit area. The session resumed 3 minutes later, at which time the leader was Jimmy Vasser with a 1:36.534, followed by Dario Franchitti with 1:36.538 and Alex Zanardi with a 1:36.649.
The red flag waved again after only 3 minutes when Andre Ribeiro slid into the run-off of turn 3 and stalled. The car had suspension damage on the right side, and was removed to a safe place by the CART safety works. Ribeiro returned to the pits where his crew was preparing his second car. The course returns to green after 6 minutes.
1 hour into the 90-minute session, and the leaders were unchanged. The final 30 minutes of the session saw no more read flags, but several people missing the first chicane, including Vitolo, Sospiri, Blundell, Gordon, de Ferran and Castro-Neves. Scott Pruett brushed the wall at turn 4 with no damage. Carpentier went into the run off at turn 3 just before the end of the session, but continued on course with no damage.
The session ended with Alex Zanardi setting an unofficial track record of 1:34.639, followed by Scott Pruett on 1:34.791 and Greg Moore on 1:35.206. Nigel Mansell set the current track record in 1994.
After the morning practice session, Honda Indy CEO, Mr. Tony Cochrane, and chairman Mr. Terry Jackman announced in a press conference that Australian Mick Doohan will do a "celebration" lap of the Honda Indy circuit in Surfers Paradise on Sunday. A native of Surfers Paradise, Doohan won his fifth 500cc world motorcycle championship two weeks ago at Phillip Island, Australia. Mr. Tony Cochrane said that this would be one of the highlights of this event for him. 10,000 Australian flags are being flown in and handed out to spectators to wave during his celebration lap.
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