CHAMPCAR/CART: Lausitz Friday summary

CHAMPCAR/CART: Lausitz Friday summary
Sep 17, 2001, 5:35 AM

LAUSITZ, Germany (September 14, 2001) - Mo Nunn Racing drivers Tony Kanaan and Alex Zanardi took to the new EuroSpeedway oval immediately Friday when they topped the speed charts for Saturday's American Memorial before a crowd of 39,627. The ...

LAUSITZ, Germany (September 14, 2001) - Mo Nunn Racing drivers Tony Kanaan and Alex Zanardi took to the new EuroSpeedway oval immediately Friday when they topped the speed charts for Saturday's American Memorial before a crowd of 39,627.

The event, previously titled the German 500, has been renamed in honor of the victims of Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C. and western Pennsylvania.

Kanaan (no limits Honda Reynard) topped 26 fellow competitors with a lap of 210.340 miles per hour (34.624 seconds) as Champ Cars took their first competitive laps on the new, 2.023-mile EuroSpeedway oval. Zanardi (Pioneer Honda Reynard) followed closely behind at 208.134 mph (34.991 seconds). Each will be seeking his first victory of the FedEx Championship Series season when the green flag falls 1:30 p.m. local time for Saturday's 16th round of the championship.

Patrick Carpentier (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard) was third fastest Friday at 206.540 mph (35.261 seconds), while Kenny Brack (Shell Ford Lola) of Team Rahal (206.183 mph, 35.322 seconds) and rookie Bruno Junqueira (Target Toyota Lola) of Target Chip Ganassi Racing (205.787 mph, 35.390 seconds), rounded out the top five.

In the interest of giving the drivers as much experience as possible at this new venue after a rainout of Thursday's testing, the weekend's qualifying session was canceled and the starting grid was based on championship points. Defending FedEx Championship Series champion Gil de Ferran (Honda Reynard) of Team Penske, who leads the series with 115 points, will start on the pole, his third pole position of the season.

De Ferran was 20th-fastest Friday at 200.462 mph (36.330 seconds). Starting alongside him on the front row will be Brack, who has won three of the five completed events contested on ovals this season.

Brack and reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves (Honda Reynard) of Team Penske, who starts third, are tied behind de Ferran with 110 points each heading into Saturday's event.

TONY KANAAN, no limits Honda Reynard: "I think the day's been pretty smooth for our team. When we went out we were one-two right away. I think we've worked very hard on sharing information in the team this year, and we were able to communicate pretty well today. For drivers to accommodate the race track is not a huge thing. If you've got a good car, it's not very difficult. I'm very happy to be here.

"I never saw so many people in my life on a Friday of race weekend. It's a sad situation for us with everything back home. We cannot celebrate today; we're just doing our jobs. I heard the CDA [Championship Drivers Association], which is the drivers' association, is going to donate $50,000 to the efforts. Money is nothing right now, but it's all we can do."

ALEX ZANARDI, Pioneer Honda Reynard: "I love this circuit, it is beautiful. It's a little scary in the turns because you're facing the wall a few times, but it is very beautiful. I'm very, very happy. It's just a shame that we're starting on points because of the rain. But when you have a good car, you only want to go racing. I actually can't wait to go racing. I can't wait because we know we have a good car. Even if I'm starting from the back, I'm still looking forward to the race."

PATRICK CARPENTIER, Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard: "It went pretty well. The car was pushing a little bit, but it's a really nice facility. It's probably one of the best we've gone to. They've created kind of a stadium around here, which makes it even better. I think we will be able to pass in a few spots, so it should be a good race. At the end of the session I ran on full tanks with Helio Castroneves and we could pass each other pretty easily. I think you're going to see some passing. You have to be careful at the exit of the turns, but I think it's going to be an exciting race."

* Michael Andretti (Motorola Honda Reynard) of Team Motorola arrived in Lausitz Friday morning after an overnight flight in a private jet from Allentown, Pa., near his Nazareth home. Andretti, whose scheduled commercial flight from the United States on Tuesday was delayed due to that day's tragic events in New York, Washington and western Pennsylvania, departed Allentown at 4 p.m. aboard a G2B Gulfstream after receiving clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration and the United States Department of Defense. Traveling with Andretti were his wife, Leslie; CART Chaplain Rev. Phil DeRea; Newman/Haas Racing co-owner Carl Haas, co-owner of Newman/Racing, and his wife, Bernie; and J.F. Thorman, Andretti's business manager. The plane stopped in Shannon, Ireland for refueling en route from Allentown and arrived in Dresden at 7 a.m. local time. Andretti, CART's all-time victory leader with 41, stands fourth in this year's FedEx Championship Series with 103 points.


American Memorial Practice 3-3-3-3

* The Championship Drivers Association, working through its Benevolent Fund, announced a donation of $50,000 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund to aid the victims and families impacted by Tuesday's terrorist acts. The Championship Drivers Association represents those drivers who compete in the FedEx Championship Series and the Indy Racing League Northern Light Series. FedEx Championship Series driver Mauricio Gugelmin (Nextel PacWest Toyota) of the PacWest Racing Group serves as CDA chairman.

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