CHAMPCAR/CART: Gold Coast Sunday Track Notes

FedEx Championship Series Track Notes-Sunda Surfers Paradise (October 18, 1998) - Good Morning for Race Day from Surfers Paradise, Australia! Today's running of the Honda Indy is Round 18 of the FedEx Championship Series. DARIO FRANCHITTI...

FedEx Championship Series Track Notes-Sunda

Surfers Paradise (October 18, 1998) -

Good Morning for Race Day from Surfers Paradise, Australia! Today's running of the Honda Indy is Round 18 of the FedEx Championship Series. DARIO FRANCHITTI sits on the pole after a track-record performance of 109.028 mph (1:32.288) in yesterday's qualifying. Another track record will be the crowd that is expected to cram the confines of the downtown street course through Surfers by race time. The weather is warm, headed toward hot, with a slight breeze out of the northeast. Today's CART on-track activities begin with the traditional 30-minute Sunday morning warm-up at 10 a.m. followed by the Green Flag for the Honda Indy at 2 p.m.

Today's starting grid will be made up of 27 cars instead of the usual FedEx Championship Series total of 28. CART Race officials determined that the amount of pit space available would only safely support 27 cars; therefore, the slowest qualifier of the weekend, #34 DENNIS VITOLO, did not make the show.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10 a.m. to start the final practice session of the weekend. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 120 degrees F. (49 C.) and an ambient temperature of 84 degrees F. (29 C.) at the start of the session.

At 10:05 a.m., five minutes into the morning session, the fastest driver is #16X CASTRO-NEVES with a lap of 101.447 mph (1:39.185), followed by #77 MEIER (99.101 mph; 1:41.533) and #36 BARRON (97.021; 1:43.709).

Also at 10:05 a.m., #33 CARPENTIER slides into the run-off at Turn 8 but continues on-course without damage to the car.

At 10:09 a.m., #21 KANAAN slides into the run-off at Turn 3 but continues on-course without damage to the car.

At 10:10 a.m., ten minutes into the morning session, the fastest driver is now #9 LEHTO with a lap of 104.325 mph (1:36.449), followed by #20 PRUETT (104.262 mph; 1:36.507) and #7 RAHAL (103.582 mph; 1:37.140).

At 10:12 a.m., #9 LEHTO slides into the run-off at Turn 3 but continues on-course without damage to the car.

At 10:14 a.m., #25 PAPIS slows dramatically entering Turn 1 and stalls on-course at Turn 2. CART safety workers pull the car to safety to await the end of the session.

At 10:15 a.m., 15 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #26X TRACY with a lap of 105.545 mph (1:35.334), followed by #9 LEHTO (105.337; 1:35.522) and #24 GORDON (105.098 mph; 1:35.739).

At 10:20 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #26X TRACY with a lap of 105.616 mph (1:35.270), followed by #9 LEHTO (105.337; 1:35.522) and #24 GORDON (105.098 mph; 1:35.739).

At 10:24 a.m., #11 FITTIPALDI slides into the run-off at Turn 8 but continues on-course without damage to the car.

Also at 10:24 a.m., #20 PRUETT slides into the run-off at Turn 3 but continues on-course without damage to the car.

At 10:25 a.m., 25 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #26X TRACY with his earlier lap of 105.616 mph (1:35.270), followed by #10 HEARN (105.474 mph; 1:35.398) and #9 LEHTO (105.337 mph; 1:35.522).

At 10:28 a.m., #21 KANAAN clocks the fastest lap of the session with a speed of 105.790 mph (1:35.113).

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 10:30 a.m. to end the morning session with the fastest driver now #24 GORDON with a lap of 106.130 mph (1:34.808), followed by #1X ZANARDI (105.871 mph; 1:35.040) and #21 KANAAN (105.790 mph; 1:35.113). The top 20 drivers are within two seconds of the fast lap set by GORDON in this final session of the weekend. FedEx Championship drivers introduced 27 different cars to the track in this morning's session with secondary cars utilized by #1X ZANARDI, #26X TRACY, #19X JOURDAIN JR., #2X UNSER JR., #3X RIBEIRO, and #16X CASTRO-NEVES. CART drivers logged a total of 150 laps during this morning's session.

At 1:44 p.m., the American National Anthem is sung.

At 1:46 p.m., the Australian National Anthem is sung.

At 1:55 p.m., the command "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines" is given by Australian Premier Peter Beattie.

At 1:56 p.m., the PPG Pace Car begins to roll with the field of 27 cars in tow for the first of three pace laps. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 130 degrees F. (54 C.) and an ambient temperature of 88 degrees F. (31 C.) at the start of the race. This compares to a track temperature of 129 degrees F. at the start of last year's Indy.

GREEN FLAG waves at 2:06 p.m. to start the 1998 Honda Indy. #27 FRANCHITTI grabs the lead entering into the Turn 1, with teammate #26 TRACY getting past #11 FITTIPALDI to take over third.

#27 FRANCHITTI leads the first lap of the 65-lap Honda Indy by .812 seconds, followed by #1 ZANARDI, #26 TRACY, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #6 ANDRETTI. ANDRETTI and #5 DE FERRAN pass #8 HERTA to take over fifth and sixth respectively on the first lap.

BLACK FLAG is shown on Lap 3 to #77 MEIER after course observers report spray coming from the rear of the car at speed. MEIER pits on Lap 4 with oil coming out of the right side of the engine. MEIER subsequently retires from the race due to an oil leak.

On Lap 5, #27 FRANCHITTI leads #1 ZANARDI by 1.392 seconds, followed by #26 TRACY, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #6 ANDRETTI.

On Lap 10, #27 FRANCHITTI leads #1 ZANARDI by .718 seconds, followed by #26 TRACY, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #6 ANDRETTI. FRANCHITTI is averaging 104.532 mph per lap at 10 laps into the race. FRANCHITTI and ZANARDI have opened up a 11.929-second lead over third-place #26 TRACY at this point of the race. Fourth-place #11 FITTIPALDI is roughly four seconds back with #6 ANDRETTI another four seconds back in fifth.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 13 after #19 JOURDAN JR. spins in the middle of Turns 9 and 10 and stalls the car. The top 13 cars pit and #1 ZANARDI wins the race off pit road followed by #27 FRANCHITTI, #26 TRACY, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #6 ANDRETTI. #33 CARPENTIER did not pit under the Yellow and moves up from 14th to sixth position. #3 RIBEIRO is the only other car not to pit and moves up from 20th to 13th position. JOURDAIN JR. subsequently withdraws from the race due to contact.

On lap 15 and under a full-course Yellow Flag, the running order is #1 ZANARDI leading #27 FRANCHITTI, followed by #26 TRACY, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #6 ANDRETTI.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 16 to resume the race, with #1 ZANARDI leading by .259 seconds over #27 FRANCHITTI.

On Lap 19, #2 UNSER JR. and #10 HEAN make side-to-side contact exiting Turn 11 and the left front wheel is damaged. UNSER JR. immediately pits with the left front wheel cocked at a 45-degree angle. The crew replaces the wishbone part of the left front suspension but UNSER JR. has lost three laps to the leaders.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 20 after #7 RAHAL spins backwards into the outside wall at Turn 10, making contact. RAHAL is uninjured in the incident, but the car is too damaged to continue and RAHAL withdraws from the race due to contact.

On Lap 20, and under a full-course Yellow Flag, the running order is #1 ZANARDI leading by 1.818 seconds over #27 FRANCHITTI, followed by #26 TRACY, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #6 ANDRETTI.

On Lap 21, #33 CARPENTIER pits and falls from 6th to 20th.

On Lap 22, #99 MOORE pits and falls from 12th to 23rd position.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 24 with #1 ZANARDI leading by .470 seconds over #27 FRANCHITTI.

On Lap 25, the running order is #1 ZANARDI leading by .818 seconds over #27 FRANCHITTI, followed by #26 TRACY, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #6 ANDRETTI.

Also on Lap 25, #2 UNSER JR. brushes the wall at Turn 4 but continues on-course without apparent damage to the car.

On Lap 30, the running order is #1 ZANARDI leading by 3.120 seconds over #27 FRANCHITTI, followed by #11 FITTIPALDI, 7.875 seconds back, #26 TRACY, and #6 ANDRETTI.

On Lap 31, #6 ANDRETTI attempts a pass on the inside of fourth-place #26 TRACY but TRACY blocks the move, causing ANDRETTI to slide the tires, and TRACY retains fourth place.

On lap 32, CART Race Control warns the competitors that the tire mat at Turn 7 has become dislodged.

On Lap 33, halfway through the Honda Indy, the running order is #1 ZANARDI leading by over #27 FRANCHITTI, followed by #11 FITTIPALDI, #26 TRACY, #6 ANDRETTI, #5 DE FERRAN, #8 HERTA, #40 FERNANDEZ, #12 VASSER, and #20 PRUETT.

On lap 34, #6 ANDRETTI makes right-front-wing to left-rear-tire contact with #26 TRACY as the cars approach Turn 5. The right front wing crumples on ANDRETTI's car and TRACY's left, rear tire shows smoke as he enters the turn. TRACY shoots across the chicane and spins around coming out of Turn 5 with the left, rear tire shredding debris. TRACY rights the car but the left rear tire is off the rim and TRACY heads for his pit. TRACY re-enters the race but falls to 19th position with suspension and brake damage hampering his effort.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 35 for safety crews to replace the tire mat at Turn 7 and the top nine positions immediately pit. #1 ZANARDI wins the race off pit road, followed by #27 FRANCHITTI, #11 FITTIPALDI, #33 CARPENTIER, and #3 RIBEIRO. CARPENTIER and RIBEIRO did not pit under the Yellow Flag and move up from tenth and 14th to fourth and fifth place respectively.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 37 with #1 ZANARDI leading #27 FRANCHITTI.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 39 after right-front-to-left rear contact between 11th-place #16 CASTRO-NEVES and 12th-place #12 VASSER. VASSER goes off-course and makes hard contact with the outside wall, spinning around one and a half times before coming to rest in the grass of the Turn 1 chicane. VASSER is uninjured in the incident but the car is destroyed and VASSER is out of the race due to contact. CASTRO-NEVES continues on-course with no apparent damage to the car.

On Lap 39, #33 CARPENTIER pits and falls from seventh to sixteenth position.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 41 with #1 ZANARDI leading #27 FRANCHITTI, followed by #11 FITTIPALDI, #3 RIBEIRO, and #17 GUGELMIN.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 42 after #10 HEARN spins at Turn 12. CART safety workers get the car restarted and HEARN continues to his pit with slight damage to the front wing.

On Lap 42, fourth-place #3 RIBEIRO and fifth-place #17 GUGELMIN pit and hand fourth and fifth place to #5 DE FERRAN and #8 HERTA respectively. GUGELMIN and RIBEIRO fall to 18th and 19th position respectively.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 44 to resume the race.

On Lap 45, the running order is #1 ZANARDI leading by .467 seconds over #27 FRANCHITTI, followed by #11 FITTIPALDI, #5 DE FERRAN, and #8 HERTA. TRACY retires his car from the race due to a brake problem.

Also on Lap 45, there is side-to-side contact between #3 RIBEIRO and #36 BARRON. Both cars continue on-course without apparent damage to their cars.

On lap 49, #8 HERTA attempts to pass #5 DE FERRAN at the outside of Turn 5. DE FERRAN has to back out of the throttle as he runs out of room and #8 HERTA takes over fourth place with #20 PRUETT following him through to fifth and DE FERRAN falling to sixth place.

On Lap 50, the running order is #1 ZANARDI leading #27 FRANCHITTI by 1.569 seconds, followed by #11 FITTIPALDI, #8 HERTA, and #20 PRUETT.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 55 after #16 CASTRO-NEVES makes contact with the wall at Turn 2. CASTRO-NEVES is uninjured in the incident but the car is too damaged to continue and CASTRO-NEVES is out of the race due to contact.

On Lap 55 and under a full-course Yellow Flag, leader #1 ZANARDI pits and hands the lead for the moment to #27 FRANCHITTI. Eighth-place #5 DE FERRAN and ninth-place #25 PAPIS also pit, falling to 16th and 17th position respectively. #27 FRANCHITTI pits the next time by and #1 ZANARDI retains the lead at the stripe, denying FRANCHITTI the lap-led status for Lap 55.

On Lap 56 and still under a full-course Yellow Flag, #27 FRANCHITTI, #11 FITTIPALDI, and #8 HERTA all pit. FRANCHITTI and FITTIPALDI retain second and third upon returning to the track while HERTA falls to 11th place.

At 3:57 p.m. and on Lap 57 while still under a full-course Yellow Flag, CART Chief Steward WALLY DALLENBACH determines that this will be a timed race of two hours. ZANARDI leads #27 FRANCHITTI, followed by #11 FITTIPALDI, #20 PRUETT, and #9 LEHTO as the cars circle the track while CART safety workers clean up the debris from the incident.

GREEN FLAG waves on Lap 58 with #1 ZANARDI leading by .476 seconds over #27 FRANCHITTI.

YELLOW FLAG waves on Lap 60 after #36 BARRON spins across the chicane at Turn 2. #6 ANDRETTI slows to avoid the spinning car of BARRON when #10 HEARN makes contact with the rear of ANDRETTI's car. ANDRETTI's car then spins as well as HEARN's. All three cars wind up against the barrier and out of the race due to contact. None of the drivers involved in the incident are injured and CART safety workers escort the drivers involved to safety.

WHITE FLAG waves on Lap 61 for #1 ZANARDI while the field is still under a full-course Yellow Flag. #25 PAPIS stalls on-course at Turn 8 while circling the track under the Yellow Flag. PAPIS subsequently retires from the race due to an electrical problem.

CHECKERED FLAG waves on lap 62 for the winner of the 1998 Honda Indy, ALEX ZANARDI! ZANARDI wins by .322 seconds over DARIO FRANCHITTI, followed by CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI in third, SCOTT PRUETT in fourth, and J J LEHTO in fifth.

ZANARDI averaged 85.328 mph in winning today's race while taking 2 hours, 1 minute, and 51.170 seconds to run the 62 laps of the race. There was one official lead change with ZANARDI leading the most laps with 49. The Yellow Flag flew seven times for a total of 19 laps. There were 18 cars running at the end of today's race with 16 cars on the lead lap at the Checkered Flag.

ALEX ZANARDI's win today is a series-high seventh victory and his 15th career win in his 50th start. ZANARDI's 49 laps led ties him on the CART all-time laps led with Tom Sneva for ninth with a total of 1447. Today also represents the eighth different winner in the eight years of the Honda Indy. This also represents the 12th win for Honda and the 17th victory of the 1998 season for Firestone.

DARIO FRANCHITTI's second place finish is his sixth podium of the season and the fourth in the pat five races. FRANCHITTI has now led a lap in the past five events. FRANCHITTI also moves into second place in the FedEx Championship Series Points chase.

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI matches his season-best finish with his third-place run today. FITTIPALDI also finished third at Road America this year. This also represents FITTIPALDI's sixth podium of his career.

Quotes from the top three finishers in today's Honda Indy follow.

ALEX ZANARDI, Target Reynard Honda: "Obviously, it was great to be back in the winner's circle in a place like this that I love so much. I was very disappointed yesterday when I didn't get the pole, but I'm very, very excited today. [On his late-race splash-and-go pit stop] It was going to be a very hard call if [the race] hadn't gone full-course yellow. Obviously, Chip [Ganassi, team owner] had reason to believe it would, and it turned out to be a good call, as it has been all year, so all credit to him.. I knew I had the car to do the job, and I thought once I was in front there wasn't much to worry about other than driving a beautiful race car, which is what I had all day. If Dario [Franchitti] makes a mistake trying to stay in front of me and he goes out, that's obviously the best situation for our team. But he remained very cool, pardon the expression, so as it turned out, the best thing I could do for my teammate [Jimmy Vasser] was to finish ahead of him and take a few more points away."

DARIO FRANCHITTI, KOOL Reynard Honda: "I've had a great time on the Gold Coast. We've had a ball. It's a lovely place to be and a lot of fun. This is a great end to the whole week, and we move to second in the championship. I tried to push Alex hard, and I think we did a good job of that. But it's good to finish second. Now we'll try to go to Fontana and score some points and keep second in the championship. It's hard to say [how close he could have come to Zanardi] because I don't know about the fuel mileage. I think we lost a little bit of time on the first stop. It wasn't our best, but it wasn't bad, but the entry and the exit didn't help. I had to come in at kind of a steep angle."

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, Kmart Swift Ford: "We've had a pretty tough time all year and I'm very happy with the way the weekend went. I wanted to win this race very badly, but both of these guys [Alex Zanardi and Dario Franchitti] drove a hell of a race. They didn't make any mistakes. I was trying all means to try and keep up with them, but unfortunately, it wasn't possible. It's a good way to finish ... now I want to close out the season on a high note and try to pick up where we left off when the season starts next year."

This concludes the Pit Notes from Surfers Paradise for today's running of the Honda Indy. We'll see you in two weeks for the final race of the year, the Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota featuring a million-dollar purse to the winner! Take care and G'day Mates!

SPECIAL NOTE FROM CART CONCERNING UNRESOLVED ACTIONS FROM TODAY'S RACE.

CART Chief Steward Wally Dallenbach met with Paul Tracy and Michael Andretti following the Honda Indy to discuss the day's on-track incidents between the two Champ Car drivers. No disciplinary action was taken because tapes of the incidents could not be reviewed properly, due to the lack of integral facilities such as the steward's trailer used in North American events. Dallenbach will revisit the issue with both drivers and perform a complete review of the tapes Friday, Oct. 30, which is the weekend of the season-ending Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota at California Speedway. Disciplinary action could result from the meeting. Any disciplinary action assessed will be announced.

Source: CART Online

------------------------ Internet Access Australia------------------------ --- IAA is MNI's ISP of choice at the '98 Gold Coast Indy --- ---- Melbourne -- Tel. 03 9686 6677 -- Fax 03 9686 6644 ----- ------------------ http://www.iaccess.com.au ---------------------

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Wally Dallenbach Sr. , Paul Tracy , Alex Zanardi , Tom Sneva