CHAMPCAR/CART: Mercedes Long Beach Saturday Qualifying

Race: Grand Prix of Long Beach, Long Beach, Calif. Date/Session: Saturday, April 17, 1999 Final Qualifying PPG Cup Leader Moore and Mercedes Start from Fourth Row at Long Beach Mercedes-powered Champ...

Race:           Grand Prix of Long Beach, Long Beach, Calif.
Date/Session:   Saturday, April 17, 1999                Final Qualifying

PPG Cup Leader Moore and Mercedes Start from Fourth Row at Long Beach Mercedes-powered Champ Car driver Greg Moore qualified on the fourth row of the starting grid for Sunday's Grand Prix of Long Beach, the third round of the 1999 FedEx Championship Series. Moore's time of 61.727 seconds (106.378 mph) was eighth quickest around the 1.824-mile temporary street circuit. Player's/Forsythe driver Moore leads the PPG Cup Driver's Championship race with 34 points. Mark Blundell's PacWest Motorola Mercedes qualified on the sixth row with a time of 61.954 seconds (105.988 mph). Blundell has two career road course wins, and finished seventh in this race last year after starting 23rd. Blundell's teammate, Mauricio Gugelmin, was 14th quickest with a lap of 62.033 seconds (105.853 mph).

Moore's Player's/Forsythe Mercedes teammate, Patrick Carpentier, starts from the ninth row after posting a qualifying lap time of 62.375 seconds (105.273 mph). Next to Carpentier on the grid will be Hogan Racing's Helio Castro-Neves with a qualifying lap of 62.390 seconds (105.248 mph). Castro-Neves led 14 laps here as a rookie last year before finishing ninth.

Tarso Marques, replacing the injured six-time Long Beach Grand Prix winner Al Unser Jr., finished 19th with a qualifying time of 62.458 seconds (105.133 mph). Rookie Shigeaki Hattori will pilot his Epson/Bettenhausen Motorsports Mercedes from 26th place with a lap of 63.623 seconds (103.208 mph).

The green flag for the Grand Prix of Long Beach will wave Sunday, April 18, at 1:00 p.m. (PT), and will be seen live on ABC-TV (4:00 p.m. ET).

Mercedes Quotes

Greg Moore, No. 99, Player's/Forsythe Mercedes/Firestone (Starting Eighth/61.727 seconds) "The chassis is pretty good. We've still got some catching up to do. We just want to have a good race here and keep the championship lead."

Mark Blundell, No. 18, Motorola Mercedes/Firestone (Starting 12th/61.954 seconds) "It's disappointing. We got caught behind Christian on the hairpin and then the flags went out. There was at least two tenths in that lap for us to get. We'll give it our best shot tomorrow."

Mauricio Gugelmin, No. 17, Hollywood Mercedes/Firestone (Starting 14th/62.033 seconds) "This morning we were on the wrong track. My engineer wanted to put the car back to where it was Friday morning, and he was right. We had a trouble-free session and improved, but it was not enough. We'll work on it in the warm-up tomorrow."

Patrick Carpentier, No. 33, Player's/Forsythe Mercedes/Firestone (Starting 17th/62.375 seconds) "The car was jumping up and down around the corners and I couldn't rotate it. It was hard to turn. You lose a tenth here and there, and it starts to add up."

Helio Castro-Neves, No. 9, Hogan Racing Mercedes/Firestone (Starting 18th/62.390 seconds) "We improved the car since the morning. We changed everything - the gearbox, the suspension. The traffic was really bad this afternoon and affected our good lap. We'll see how it looks in warm up with a full tank. I'm confident that tomorrow we'll be in the mix."

Tarso Marques, No. 2, Marlboro Team Penske/Mercedes/Goodyear (Starting 19th/62.458 seconds) "We're working very hard for a good set up with the chassis, tires and engine. We could have had better results, but we definitely improved. Tomorrow it will be important for us to finish the race. The traffic will make it very hard to move up and go to the front. Our goal is a good finish."

Shigeaki Hattori, No. 16 , Epson/Bettenhausen Motorsports/Mercedes/Firestone (Starting 26th/63.623 seconds) "The car is getting better, but the yellow flags in the session took away some of our time. This is our first weekend on a road course all year. We haven't tested on road courses, so we have a lot of catching up to do."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Shigeaki Hattori , Tarso Marques , Patrick Carpentier , Mauricio Gugelmin , Mark Blundell , Greg Moore
Teams Team Penske