CHAMPCAR/CART: Mercedes Cleveland qualifying

Mercedes-Benz driver Mauricio Gugelmin earned the 11th spot on the provisional grid today during the first round of qualifying for the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland at the 2.106-mile Burke Lakefront Airport temporary racing circuit. ...

Mercedes-Benz driver Mauricio Gugelmin earned the 11th spot on the provisional grid today during the first round of qualifying for the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland at the 2.106-mile Burke Lakefront Airport temporary racing circuit. Dario Franchitti is on the provisional pole thanks to a 57.961-second lap (130.805 mph). The final field will be set during final qualifying tomorrow beginning at 1:45 p.m. (Eastern).

"We had a messed up session this morning," said Gugelmin, whose best time was 58.273 seconds (130.105 mph). "We went to the backup car for the afternoon, which we hadn't run before. It had the same settings as our primary car. The car was well balanced for this track. If we can make some improvements for tomorrow I think we can be in the top 10 or better."

Bryan Herta, who is substituting for the injured Tony Kanaan in the Mo Nunn Racing/Hollywood/Mercedes-Benz, qualified 13th after running a lap of 58.398 seconds (129.826 mph).

    "We ran out of gas right there at the end," said Herta, who is still 
getting comfortable in Kanaan's Champ Car.  "I got caught in traffic and 
backed off so I could make a run.  I had a really good lap going, too.  I was 
going for it and the car started to sputter.  Last week was like our first 
test together, except it was in front of everybody at a race.  But it paid 
off for us coming to this race.  We're doing the best we can."

Gugelmin's PacWest Racing teammate, Mark Blundell, driver of the Motorola/Mercedes-Benz, was 17th at the conclusion of today's on-track activities. His best lap was 59.143 seconds (128.191 mph).

    "We had a reasonably good session," said Blundell.  "We made a damper 
(shock absorber) change, and went the wrong way.  Upon reflection, we should 
have known better.  There is more left for us.  But there is a learning 
curve, too.  We'll get up to speed relatively quickly."

Bettenhausen Motorsports/Herdez/Mercedes-Benz driver Michel Jourdain Jr. is 23rd with a 60.073-second lap (126.206 mph). Luiz Garcia Jr., driver of the Arciero Project Racing/Hollywood Mercedes-Benz, is 25th thanks to a 65.036-second lap (116.575 mph).

Practice resumes tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. in preparation for the afternoon's final qualifying.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Mauricio Gugelmin , Bryan Herta , Mark Blundell , Michel Jourdain , Luiz Garcia Jr.