CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach Friday qualifying report

de Ferran Does The Beach By Jim DeFord (C) 1996 Trackside Internet Publishing, Inc. http:/www.trackside.com/ Gil de Ferran edged out Jimmy Vasser in the last minutes...

de Ferran Does The Beach By Jim DeFord (C) 1996 Trackside Internet Publishing, Inc. http:/www.trackside.com/

Gil de Ferran edged out Jimmy Vasser in the last minutes of qualifying for the Grand Prix of Long Beach and goes to sleep with the provisional pole.

Goodyear brought out a new "option" tire this weekend at Long Beach and they seem to be working well.

"The tires are an improvement," said de Ferran. "Actually, I think the tires Goodyear had for Surfer's Paradise adapted better to this circuit, and the options were better yet. The grip level was a lot higher overall, especially mid-corner and on the exit."

Jimmy Vasser also credited his speed to the tires, but this time it's Firestone receiving the kudos.

"I flat spotted the left front on my second lap and wound up with gross understeer," said Vasser. "I set my time on my first 'hot' lap then I got a little over anxious braking for Turn One. I figured I'd go in 25% deeper than before and it didn't work.

"The Firestone tire engineers probably aren't too happy with me, 'cause anyone out there who wanted to learn about the construction of their tires could see how they're built all the way down to the cord."

Scott Pruett's new nickname is "Mr. Cosworth." Pruett has been the fastest Cosworth driver this season, bar none. He knows the weak points of his package and will make every effort to capitalize in any other way to make his car fast, and bring it home.

"The car was fabulous at Australia but the fuel economy really hurt us," he said. "But since then Ford has made some improvements. We're taking it one race at a time. It's nothing major, and you're not going to see us take a big step forward.... just little by little."

The "King Of The Beach" is Al Unser, Jr. who is 5th in Friday's qualifying session. It is by far, Al's best pre-qualifying effort to date for the 1996 IndyCar Season.

"The car's working great," said Unser. "The only thing my Marlboro/Penske car needs is a little more balance. We're really, really close right now."

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Jimmy Vasser , Scott Pruett , Al Unser Sr.