Soggy Saturday Prevents Vasser and Gonzalez from Improving on Round One Qualifying Positions. LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 17, 2004) -- A washed out morning practice session set the tone for Saturday's Champ Car action in Long Beach as PKV Racing...
Soggy Saturday Prevents Vasser and Gonzalez from Improving on Round One Qualifying Positions.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 17, 2004) -- A washed out morning practice session set the tone for Saturday's Champ Car action in Long Beach as PKV Racing pilots Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Roberto Gonzalez (#21 NII Holdings, Inc. Ford-Cosworth/Lola Bridgestone) could do very little in difficult conditions to improve upon their efforts from Round One qualifying for tomorrow's 30th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Although the 1996 Long Beach champion ran the sixth fastest (1:11.804, 98.669 mph) time in the second round qualifier on a less-than-perfect SoCal afternoon, Vasser's first round time of 1:10.056 (101.131 mph) will keep him on solid ground when he starts in the 10th position tomorrow afternoon.
"When I got out there and started doing my first run, it looked like it was going to be a decent track," said Vasser. "But the drying track really made for a difficult session. With practice washed out this morning, the weather didn't really help us out much."
Although Saturday qualifying wasn't to his liking, tomorrow the California native will have to rely on the experience that has guided him to four straight Long Beach top-five finishes on the 1.968-mile street course, dating back to 2000.
Champ Car Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Gonzalez was hoping to turn Friday feedback into Saturday speed, but the Mexican native was unable to test those enhancements as a slow-drying track and minimal Green Flag time did not provide the necessary gauge of speed.
"We made a lot of changes to the car overnight, but couldn't really test those changes in practice due to the rain, obviously, said Gonzalez. "It was frustrating because part of qualifying was wet as well. I think everyone had problems getting a good run with all the Red Flag situations -- that really disturbed what we hoped would be my best runs at the end."
The Green Flag drops in Long Beach tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 pm ET for Round 1 of the 2004 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford.