CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach Mercedes-Benz Friday Qualifying Report

Defending polesitter Tony Kanaan qualified his Mercedes-powered Mo Nunn Racing/Hollywood Champ Car 10th on the starting grid at Friday's provisional qualifying for Sunday's Grand Prix of Long Beach, round three of the CART FedEx Championship...

Defending polesitter Tony Kanaan qualified his Mercedes-powered Mo Nunn Racing/Hollywood Champ Car 10th on the starting grid at Friday's provisional qualifying for Sunday's Grand Prix of Long Beach, round three of the CART FedEx Championship Series. Final qualifying for the first street circuit of the season will be held Saturday.

Meanwhile, Adrian Fernandez holds the provisional pole with his lap of the 1.968-mile circuit in 68.636 seconds (103.223 mph).

Two Mercedes drivers were among the four quickest in the morning practice session. Kanaan, fourth quickest in the morning, posted a qualifying lap of 69.194 seconds (102.390 mph) in the afternoon session. The Brazilian driver's efforts to top the time sheets with a hot lap on fresh tires at the end of the session were stymied by a red flag in the final minutes caused by Dario Franchitti's single-car incident.

Nextel Mercedes driver Mauricio Gugelmin posted a lap of 69.644 seconds (101.729 mph). Teammate Mark Blundell, second-quickest in the morning, could not improve on that performance and his Motorola Mercedes wound up 18th on the provisional grid (69.852 seconds/101.426 mph).

Michel Jourdain Jr. and the Bettenhausen Motorsports Herdez Mercedes team qualified 22nd (71.014 seconds/99.766 mph), while Luiz Garcia Jr. qualified 24th with a lap in 73.178 seconds (96.816 mph) in his Arciero Project Racing Group/Hollywood Mercedes.

Mercedes Quotes

Tony Kanaan, No. 55, Mo Nunn Racing Hollywood Mercedes/Firestone (10th/69.194 seconds)

"The car was good this morning, but we made some changes and we had too much understeer. It took us a while to change the car back. I couldn't run my second set of tires, but you can't control these things. The good news is that the car is consistent."

Mauricio Gugelmin, No. 17, PacWest Nextel Mercedes/Firestone (17th/69.644 seconds)

"I struggled with push today. We really lost a lot of time working on several things and it was not a very good day at all. We certainly need to make some big improvements overnight, and get our act together for final qualifying tomorrow. Let's hope the weather stays fine."

Mark Blundell, No. 18, PacWest Motorola Mercedes/Firestone (18th/69.852 seconds)

"Unfortunately, we didn't capitalize on what we got this morning. We didn't get the tire pressures right, and the car was difficult to handle in the afternoon. I'm happy with the way the Mercedes engine performed right out of the box. We've made some big gains in a short amount of time, so it's encouraging. This afternoon was not a reflection of what we've got underneath us. We've just got to put our heads down and make things happen tomorrow."

Michel Jourdain Jr., No. 16, Bettenhausen Herdez Mercedes/Firestone (22nd/71.014 seconds)

        "The team is working really hard.  We need more rear grip, so we
will make some changes to try to improve.  The engine was very, very good
today.  We have made some big steps and I am happy."

<pre> Provisional Qualifying, Grand Prix of Long Beach Long Beach, Calif. April 14, 2000

Pos.    Driver                  Engine          Time    Speed   
1       Adrian Fernandez        Ford Cosworth   68.636  103.223 
2       Gil de Ferran           Honda           68.643  103.212 
3       Max Papis               Ford Cosworth   68.698  103.130 
4       Roberto Moreno          Ford Cosworth   68.848  102.905 
5       Jimmy Vasser            Toyota          68.969  102.724 
6       Dario Franchitti        Honda           69.009  102.665 
7       Helio Castro-Neves      Honda           69.057  102.594 
8       Juan Montoya            Toyota          69.087  102.549 
9       Bryan Herta             Honda           69.157  102.445 
10      Tony Kanaan             Mercedes-Benz   69.194  102.390 
17      Mauricio Gugelmin       Mercedes-Benz   69.644  101.729 
18      Mark Blundell           Mercedes-Benz   69.852  101.426 
22      Michel Jourdain Jr.     Mercedes-Benz   71.014  99.766  
24      Luiz Garcia Jr.         Mercedes-Benz   73.178  96.816  

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Jimmy Vasser , Max Papis , Adrian Fernandez , Roberto Moreno , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Mauricio Gugelmin , Bryan Herta , Mark Blundell , Michel Jourdain , Luiz Garcia Jr. , Mo Nunn