CHAMPCAR/CART: Laguna Seca Gugelmin leads Mercedes-Benz runners

(Laguna Seca, Ca) – PacWest Racing’s Mauricio Gugelmin recorded his sixth top-10 result of the season to lead the Mercedes-Benz runners in qualifying for tomorrow’s Honda Grand Prix of Monterey at the Laguna Seca Raceway in ...

(Laguna Seca, Ca) – PacWest Racing’s Mauricio Gugelmin recorded his sixth top-10 result of the season to lead the Mercedes-Benz runners in qualifying for tomorrow’s Honda Grand Prix of Monterey at the Laguna Seca Raceway in California.

Gugelmin, driver of the #17 Nextel PacWest Mercedes-Benz, improved on his provisional time from yesterday by 0.156 of a second to remain seventh on the grid.

Mark Blundell, driver of the #18 Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz, improved on his Saturday time by 1.057 seconds to a 1:09.638 before he had a mechanical problem and was forced to park near turn one after just five laps.

He made his way back to the pits and worked with his team to prepare a back-up car, but it was decided there was not enough time for him to head back out on to the track. Going out in the X18 car would have meant that the time clocked in his prime machine would no longer stand and that he would have to go faster in the back-up car immediately for the exercise to be worthwhile.

The Marlboro Team Penske pair of Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran continued to dominate proceedings and will start on the front row ahead of Team KOOL Green’s Dario Franchitti and defending champion Bryan Herta.

MAURICIO GUGELMIN - # 17 NEXTEL PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ – 7th
Qualifying: 1:08.608s

“We improved the car a lot for this afternoon’s session,” said Gugelmin.

“My engineers have done a terrific job to give me the best possible car for qualifying.

“I continue to fight push, which is one of my biggest problems, and we are currently working on getting my car to flow better upon entry into the corners.

“We’re learning as we go, and I’m confident we will have a reasonable car for the race.”

MARK BLUNDELL - # 18 MOTOROLA PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ – 21st
Qualifying: 1:09.638s

“Everything was looking good. We were in P2 (position two) and looking forward to making use of the improving conditions,” said Blundell.

“Then it looks as though we had a clutch problem and I was stuck at turn one after five laps. We had to sit out eight minutes for causing a red flag and then there was another red. It was decided not to go out.”

QUALIFYING TOP 10: Helio Castroneves 1:07.722; 2: Gil de Ferran 1:07.823; 3: Dario Franchitti 1:08.148; 4: Bryan Herta 1:08.281; 5: Kenny Brack 1:08.544; 6: Juan Montoya 1:08.544; 7: Mauricio Gugelmin 1:08.608; 8: Christian Fittipaldi 1:08.627; 9: Jimmy Vasser 1:08.642; Oriol Servia 1:08.800.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Jimmy Vasser , Christian Fittipaldi , Dario Franchitti , Mauricio Gugelmin , Oriol Servia , Bryan Herta , Kenny Brack , Mark Blundell
Teams Team Penske