Alex Zanardi and the ...
Alex Zanardi and the #66 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard will start 20th in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Long Beach after a wet and accident-marred first of two schedule 30-minute qualifying sessions today. Zanardi managed to post a fast lap of 1 minute, 10.675 seconds (an average of 100.245 mph) that came on his sixth of only 10 laps recorded during the session on the 1.968-mile temporary street course. The session was halted three times by red-flag incidents on track and the first-group competitors, already hampered by rain showers, could get in only the guaranteed 20 minutes of green flag time.
Zanardi’s teammate Tony Kanaan, in the #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard, will start Sunday’s race from the inside of the second row after a wet and wild second qualifying session today. Kanaan’s best lap – 1:09.223 (102.347 mph) -- put him just behind polesitter Helio Castroneves and Kenny Brack, and equaled his best qualifying effort for second-year Mo Nunn Racing. (He qualified third on the 1-mile oval at Chicago last season.) Kanaan was on the pole here two years ago and led 44 of the first 46 laps before an accident ended his day. Castroneves’ fast time of 1:08.556 (103.343 mph) secured his fifth career pole, while Brack came in at 1:09.097 (102.534 mph) to take the outside-front-row starting position. Cristiano da Matta will start outside Kanaan on the second row with a qualifying time of 1:09.312 (102.216 mph).
Today’s qualifying will be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis by ESPN2 beginning at 2 a.m. EDT. Race time Sunday is 1 p.m. local time (4 p.m. EDT) and it will be aired live by ABC-TV. The CART2DAY preview show will air at 11 a.m. EDT on ESPN2.
“It’s a helpless feeling when you’re at the mercy of what the weather is going to do. But it’s the same for everybody. It makes it even more frustrating when you can’t get two or three clear laps in a row before hitting traffic, or a red flag comes out. I had a really good one going – my dash said I was eight-tenths (of a second) better than my previous three laps, when I hit traffic and the red flag came out. Despite everything, I’m confident that we have a good race car. It will be a real test of patience to work our way up from the back of the grid. We just have to make sure to be in a good position to take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to us. They will come, that’s for sure. We’ll just have to be in the right place at the right time.”
- Mo Nunn Racing