Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Friday Qualifying Report - 16 April 1999 by Alan Perry Motorsports News International One thing about this year's Long Beach Grand Prix is that the circuit has been changed. This is of particular note because...
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Friday Qualifying Report - 16 April 1999
by Alan Perry Motorsports News International
One thing about this year's Long Beach Grand Prix is that the circuit has been changed. This is of particular note because many of the drivers have been having problems with the new turns two and three, a narrow couple of turns that go around a fountain.
The order was established early in the session with Dario Franchitti followed Papis, Herta, Fernandez, Tracy, Andretti, Fittipaldi, Moore, de Ferran, Pruett and Kanaan. For most of the session, the drivers were putting in better times, but not improving their position. The times were in the 1:02s and 1:03s.
With 10 minutes to go, Tony Kanaan broke this pattern by improving his position at the bottom of the board in a decisive way. First, he put in a time good enough for 9th and immediately followed it with a time good for 2nd.
As the session closed, the action picked up a bit with Vasser, Andretti, Fittipaldi and Fernandez improving their times and positions. The best of these was Bryan Herta, though, who managed to take second and it was just in time because Scott Pruett spun his car in turn two, bent the suspension and blocked the track. The session was red-flagged and was effective over.
The order at the end of the session was Franchitti, Herta, Kanaan, Papis, Fernandez, Vasser, Fittipaldi, Andretti, Tracy, Carpentier, Moore, de Ferran and Pruett.
The second group started with most of the cars going out and putting in progressively faster time, but the times were not quite as fast as the first group's. Gugelmin, Blundell, Castro-Neves and Robbie Gordon lead the group. da Motta came out and started putting in good times as well.
By half way through the session the order was Blundell, da Matta, Gordon, Marquez, Gugelmin, Jones, Castro-Neves, Jourdain, Barron, Hearn, Garcia and Hattori. Then Gugelmin stuffed his car into the wall coming out of turn two and the session was stopped.
Gordon was first out after the restart. There was very little improvement. Marquez managed to move ahead of da Matta. Then, with five minutes to go, Richie Hearn clipped the apex between turns two and three, destroyed the wheel and stopped at the exit of turn three. The session was red-flagged.
With just less than three minutes to go, the session was restarted. PJ Jones and Mark Blundell managed to improve their times so that their positions were better than the bottom of the first group. However, the big surprise was Juan Montoya who managed to sneak in a fast lap before Hearn stopped the session and was sitting second on the board. After the very end of the session he got a clear track and put in another fast time, but couldn't beat Franchitti.
The order at the end of the session was Montoya, Blundell, Jones, da Matta, Marques, Gugelmin, Hearn, Jourdain, Castro-Neves, Barron, Salles, Garcia and Hattori.
The combined order ws Franchitti, Montoya, Herta, Kanaan, Papis, Fernandez, Vasser, Fittipaldi, Andretti, Tracy, Carpentier, Moore, Blundell, Jones, de Ferran, Gordon, Pruett, da Matta, Marques, Gugelmin, Hearn, Jourdain, Castro-Neves, Barron, Salles, Garcia, Hattori.
However, Robby Gordon's car failed the technical inspection and his time was disallowed.