CHAMPCAR/CART: Marlboro Team Penske Laguna Seca qualifying notes

This is Marlboro Team Penske's third front row sweep this season (Toronto, Mid-Ohio and Laguna Seca), and the second consecutive front row sweep at the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey (Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran started first and second ...

This is Marlboro Team Penske's third front row sweep this season (Toronto, Mid-Ohio and Laguna Seca), and the second consecutive front row sweep at the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey (Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran started first and second respectively last year).

"Today's qualifying session was actually very difficult. I knew Helio (Castroneves) would be fast so I needed to have a great car. We had a good practice session this morning and I knew we'd be right there this afternoon. I was a lot happier with the Marlboro car today than I was yesterday.

My first qualifying run was pretty good; we just had a little bit of understeer through the turns. I got caught in traffic exiting the pits on my second stint, and it took me a few laps to get a clear track. I knew Helio had bettered my time so I needed a good lap to retake first. Fortunately, I was able to drop back and get in a clean run, which was good enough for the pole. On my final lap, I went into the corner too hard and just lost it, and I ended up in the tire wall. Obviously, it's not the way I wanted to end the session but these things happen.

It's important to start up front here at Laguna Seca. I also earned another important point in the Championship standings, but we can't celebrate too much. Now we have to look to tomorrow -- I'm not expecting an easy race by any means. It's a tough field, so we have to remain focused and do our job."

-- Gil de Ferran, Marlboro Team Penske, #1 2001 Marlboro Honda Reynard
-- Pole position, Honda Grand Prix of Monterey -- 68.596 sec.
-- Fifth pole this season, second consecutive pole (de Ferran took the pole in Houston last weekend), 16th Champ car career pole

"We tried a number of things this morning that didn't work so we went back to our set-up from yesterday. The Marlboro car was really good in qualifying. It was very consistent, especially on old tires, and was handling well. Unfortunately, the red flag at the end of the session really hurt us. I'm disappointed, but I guess it's 'good when second is not good' because we knew we had a car that could qualify on the pole. What's done is done and there's nothing we can do about it now. We need to focus on the race and collect as many points as possible. Our strategy worked in Mid-Ohio (Castroneves started second and finished first) so let's see if we can repeat that. We'll try to take the 21 points tomorrow instead of one point today."


-- Helio Castroneves, Marlboro Team Penske, #3 2001 Marlboro Honda Reynard
-- Second fastest qualifying time - 68.678 sec.
-- Eighth front row start this season

Notes:
- This is Gil de Ferran's fifth pole of the season and his second consecutive pole (he won the pole last weekend in Houston). He's now won the pole in four of the last seven events - Mid-Ohio, Germany, Houston and Laguna Seca. He also won the pole in Toronto.

- De Ferran has 16 career Champ car poles and is in second place in all-time career poles among active drivers (Michael Andretti is first with 32 poles).

- Of his 16 CART career poles, de Ferran has scored 12 of them on temporary/road circuits (Cleveland - 1995; Long Beach - 1996, 1997 and 2000; Detroit - 1997; Toronto - 1999 and 2001; Mid-Ohio - 2000 and 2001; Houston 2000 and 2001; Laguna Seca - 2001).

- With today's pole position, de Ferran's average starting position on temporary/road circuits this season is fifth.

- To date this season, de Ferran's average finishing position is fifth on temporary/road circuits.

- In the 18 events to date, de Ferran has qualified on the front row six times (33%) and started in the top-five 12 times (66%).

- In the ten temporary/road course events to date, de Ferran has completed 98% of the laps. He has completed every lap in each race except Toronto; and has led 187 of the 829 laps (23%). De Ferran has earned 117 of his 163 Championship points on temporary/road circuits (72%).

- Helio Castroneves has qualified on the front row in eight of 18 events this season (44%). He has qualified in the top-five in 15 events (83%). This is his second consecutive front row start at Laguna Seca (he started on the pole last year).

- This season, Castroneves has completed 96% of the laps contested on temporary/ road circuits and has led 237 of 829 laps (29%). Castroneves has earned 88 of his 133 Championship points on temporary/road circuits (66%).

- Marlboro Team Penske has swept the front row three times this season; Toronto, Mid-Ohio and Laguna Seca. This is the second consecutive front row sweep for the Team at the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey -- Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran qualified first and second respectively last year.

- Marlboro Team Penske has started in the top-three in nine of the 11 temporary/road circuits run this season including poles at Long Beach, Detroit, Toronto, Mid-Ohio, Houston and Laguna Seca.

- Marlboro Team Penske has led every lap in three races this season - Castroneves led wire-to-wire in Long Beach and Detroit and de Ferran led wire-to-wire in Houston - and has led most laps in nine races.

- In 2001, Marlboro Team Penske drivers have had eight podium finishes on temporary/road circuits including victories at Long Beach, Detroit, Mid-Ohio and Houston.

- Of the 829 laps run on temporary/road circuits this year, Marlboro Team Penske drivers have led 424 (51%).

- Last season, Marlboro Team Penske had six poles and eight podium finishes at the 11 temporary/road circuits including two 1-2 finishes at Mid-Ohio and Laguna Seca.

- This is the 135th pole for Team Penske.

-MTP-

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Series IndyCar
Teams Team Penske