CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach: Lola Cars raceday report

Lola drivers second through fifth at Long Beac @Da Matta retains pointh. lead with seventh-place finis h. On an a typically cool, cloudy Southern California spring day, Michael Andretti took his 42nd...

Lola drivers second through fifth at Long Beac @Da Matta retains pointh. lead with seventh-place finis h.

On an a typically cool, cloudy Southern California spring day, Michael Andretti took his 42nd career victory over polesitter Jimmy Vasser, for the first one-two American Champ Car finish since Andretti led Bobby Rahal to the Vancouver checkers in 1996. Six caution periods slowed the race to an 86.935mph average, yet Andretti and Vasser posted the second closest Long Beach victory since Andretti's first win at this venue, in 1986.

Vasser tried, but could not catch Andretti, closing the gap from three seconds on lap 82 when green flew after the finalcaution, to a scant .466 seconds in his #8 Shell Lola/Ford. "My car ran flawlessly all day long. It was a typical 'aero' thing," Vasser noted. "I could get close but I couldn't pass him. I tried everything I could to get him to make a mistake, but it wasn't in the cards."

Max Papis finished third, the best CART result for second year Sigma Autosport and the team's first podium slot. "We hadn't tested since Monterrey and camehere with only one car. This feels like a win for Sigma, as we had only one car here this weekend. This is a very, very, very special moment," he acknowledged.

Kenny Brack finished fourth in the #12 Team Target Lola/Toyota and agreed, "It's so tough to pass here and we didn't have [Athe speed to close on the straightaways. We had a little problem with the traction control and we've still got a lot to learn about it."

Michel Jourdain Jr.'s fifth place in the #9 Gigante Lola/Ford came at the end of a "very, very long day. The car was very good, but it's so competitive in this series and so very hard to overtake at this track. The [final] yellow hurt us; otherwise, Jimmy and I would have been first and third." Jourdain is third in points going to Twin Ring Motegi, behind Cristiano da Matta and tied with Andretti, who will race at LolaB02/00 at Twin Ring Motegi next month.

"It's nice to see Michael winning again," said Dan Partel, Lola Cars International Ltd. president. "In the future he'll be in a Lola and carry on the Andretti and Lola winning tradition." While da Matta was the fastest car on the track, leading 30 laps before being foiled by an ill-advised move by Adrian Fernandez in the pits and finishing seventh, "part of the interest to the public isthat the fastest car doesn't always win the race. If the outcome were known before the finish, what fun would it be?" Partel added.Mailing List Software provided byMSO.net

-lola-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Max Papis , Adrian Fernandez , Kenny Brack , Cristiano da Matta , Michel Jourdain