Brazilian and Canadian drivers once again dominated in the first practice at the CART Long Beach Grand Prix. Brazil and Canada already lead CART's Nations' Cup, and the drivers from the two countries continued their domination by taking the...
Brazilian and Canadian drivers once again dominated in the first practice at the CART Long Beach Grand Prix.
Brazil and Canada already lead CART's Nations' Cup, and the drivers from the two countries continued their domination by taking the first five spots in Friday practice at Long Beach.
Tony Kanaan (Reynard-Honda), driving for Mo Nunn Racing, was easily fastest, clocking a lap of 1:07.759 in the afternoon session. Kanaan, looking to repeat his 1999 pole at the same track, will now have to repeat his driving performance during Saturday afternoon's qualifying.
"We are very, very pleased. This is a real boost to the team and I'm really happy for the guys," said Kanaan. "We were trying to save tires all day. We used one set in the morning session. Then we scrubbed another set this afternoon before putting on another set for our final run. I was fortunate to get a clear lap right when I needed it."
Behind Kanaan, clustered within a tenth of a second, were Spain's Oriol Servia, beating out Canadian Paul Tracy, Helio Castroneves (Brazil) and Patrick Carpentier (Canada). The foursome were driving a mix of different vehicles, with two Ford and two Honda engines between them, as well as three Reynards and one Lola. Clearly no one chassis or engine had the advantage at this street circuit.
Michael Andretti was the top US driver on this afternoon, another tenth of a second behind Carpentier, clocking in 1:08.513, and just barely ahead of the first Toyota runner, ROberto Moreno, who was timed at 1:08.521.
The big loser in the afternoon practice appeared to be Alexandre Tagliani. The sophomore Canadian driver had beaten Kanaan by 0.319 seconds in the morning practice, but was 0.7 off Kanaan's time in the afternoon. But the team had a strategy art work ...
"This is going to work to my advantage in qualifying," said Tagliani. "I'll have two new sets of tires [tomorrow] while most guys will be running on one partly used set and one new set. If I had used the new set of tires in the afternoon, I would have been right up with the leaders because the top guy this afternoon was behind me this morning."
Will Tagliani's strategy pay off on Saturday? Will Kanaan be too strong? Or will someone else fight his way to the top of the timesheets tomorrow? Check back tomorrow to find out who will be starting from the front in Sunday's second round of the CART Championship.