By - David C. Schilke - Motorsport.com Burke Lakefront Airport - Cleveland, OH- Rain was the main factor in today's qualifying. The fast cars of this weekend had to qualify in the rain and their session was red flagged for a while due to ...
By - David C. Schilke - Motorsport.com
Burke Lakefront Airport - Cleveland, OH- Rain was the main factor in today's qualifying. The fast cars of this weekend had to qualify in the rain and their session was red flagged for a while due to lightning. Because of this Mauricio Gugelmin has the pole.
Qualifying in CART is split into two groups separated by the qualifying times of the last road course event. Group one was made up of the slower cars from Portland. They had the advantage for today's qualifying.
At the start of the session for group one clouds started to loom overhead with the threat of rain. Group one was able to run their half hour of qualifying in the dry. Group two, which included the fastest teams this weekend, was not as lucky. Nine minutes into their session it began to rain with thunder and lightning. The session was red flagged until the electrical activity passed overhead. With only eleven minutes remaining the group two drivers never had a chance to run at competitive speeds. Dario Franchitti was the fastest of the group two drivers qualifying in the 14th spot overall.
Of the group two drivers Max Papis, Helio Castroneves, Jimmy Vasser, Roberto Moreno and Paul Tracy were slower than the 110 percent threshold. Meaning they were under 120 mph.
Mauricio Gugelmin's pole winning speed was 132.185 mph. Starting on the front row next to him is Adrian Fernandez with a 131.815 mph lap. This is Adrian's best start this season. In third place is the rookie Max Wilson at 130.961 mph. Completing the second row is Bryan Herta at 130.934 mph. Herta was fastest in today's morning warm up.
Herta on qualifying: "I thought we might be a bit quicker this afternoon, but it is good to start fourth here. We did a qualifying time this morning and everyone else picked up some speed this afternoon. We did three or four laps during qualifying that matched out best time of the day; I just couldn't get it to go any quicker. We are going to have to make a couple of changes tonight and see if we can't get a little quicker for tomorrow. I guess the weather was on our side today. Now we just need to continue our progress tomorrow and see if we can score some points here."
Michael Andretti's thoughts on today's qualifying: "This is really tough. We got bit big time by the way qualifying is split but that's the way it goes. It's a shame, I don't think we'd have ended up 21st. We'll need some good luck tomorrow. I think we'll have a decent racecar and this track is nice and wide in a lot of places so passing isn't a problem. It will definitely be challenging tomorrow.