Tracy tops Long Beach provisional qualifying. Best nine are Lola drivers timed within one second A last-minute duel between Paul Tracy and Bruno Junqueira, for top spot in qualifying for the Champ Cars' 20th visit to the Toyota Grand Prix of...
Tracy tops Long Beach provisional qualifying.
Best nine are Lola drivers timed within one second
A last-minute duel between Paul Tracy and Bruno Junqueira, for top spot in qualifying for the Champ Cars' 20th visit to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach was quelled when Roberto Moreno caused the session to be red- and checkered-flagged, ironically by running into the Canadian, who led both morning practice sessions.
Tracy, touring the 1.968-mile, 11-turn street course next to the Pacific Ocean set top time of 69.079 seconds (102.561mph) on his 13th of 14 laps in the #3 Player's Lola/Ford. "We started pretty well this morning and learned more about the car, improving it with every practice," Tracy said. "In qualifying we made a small change before I went out on my second set of tires and it worked for us." Bridgestone has brought a new, softer tire to Long Beach, one that complements Tracy's style.
Junqueira settled for second at 69.120 seconds (102.500mph) in his #1 PacifiCare Lola/Ford and noted, "The car was pretty good all day, but I was on my very, very fast lap when the red came out so I'm kind of frustrated."
His rookie teammate Sebastien Bourdais took third, posting a lap of 69.242 seconds (102.319mph) in his #2 Lilly Lola/Ford admitting "This track is difficult everywhere and the curbs are quite irregular in some places. We have come pretty far since this morning (he was 12th in the combined practices) and I'm pleased to be in the top three."
Fourth place went to Patrick Carpentier's #32 Player's Lola/Ford at 69.406 seconds (102.078mph), after running 3rd in combined practice this morning. Adrian Fernandez followed up a good test in Arizona earlier this week with 5th on the provisional grid in his #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Lola/Ford at 69.431 seconds (102.039mph). Fellow Mexican Michel Jourdain Jr. hustled the #9 Gigante Lola/Ford to 6th place at 69.530 seconds (101.896mph). "I felt like we had good potential (after practice) but the car picked up a lot of understeer," Jourdain said.
The top nine qualifiers in this field of 19, all riding with Lola chassis, circulated within one second in the 40-minute session, held under partly cloudy and mid-60-degree skies. Oriol Servia was 7th in the #20 Visteon Lola/Ford, followed by the #33 Johnson Controls Lola/Ford of Alex Tagliani, while Mario Dominguez earned 9th place in the #55 Herdez Lola/Ford.
There have been some predictions of rain for both Saturday final time trials and for Sunday's 90-lap race, hastening the need to put up a good time today.