CHAMPCAR/CART: Mercedes Racing Cleveland Qualifying

FedEx Championship Series Report Race: Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland Date/Session: Saturday, June 26, 1999 Final Qualifying "Super Sub" Roberto Moreno Puts Mercedes Fifth on the Grid in Cleveland Top 10s for PacWest and ...

FedEx Championship Series Report

Race:           Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland
Date/Session:   Saturday, June 26, 1999 Final Qualifying

"Super Sub" Roberto Moreno Puts Mercedes Fifth on the Grid in Cleveland Top 10s for PacWest and Player's/Forsythe Teams

Roberto Moreno, who has been substituting for the injured Mark Blundell in the PacWest Racing Motorola Mercedes for the past several weeks due to injuries Blundell suffered in a testing accident, qualified fifth for Sunday's Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland on the 2.106-mile temporary Burke Lakefront Airport circuit. Moreno's time of 57.478 seconds (131.904 mph) came late in the session as Juan Montoya earned the pole position for the race with a lap of 56.813 seconds (133.448 mph). Moreno was one of four drivers utilizing the Mercedes-Benz IC108E Phase III (E3) engine to qualify in the top 10. Both Player's/Forsythe Racing Mercedes drivers, Patrick Carpentier and Greg Moore, will start immediately behind Moreno in sixth and seventh place, respectively. Meanwhile, Moreno's PacWest teammate, Hollywood Mercedes driver Mauricio Gugelmin, will start ninth. Carpentier's quickest time was 57.540 seconds (131.762 mph), which was only one-thousandth of a second quicker than Moore, whose best effort was a lap of 57.541 seconds (131.760 mph). Gugelmin's quick lap was 57.597 seconds (131.632 mph). Marlboro Team Penske's Al Unser Jr. will start 14th thanks to a 58.105-second lap (130.481 mph). He'll be followed closely by Hogan Racing driver Helio Castro-Neves, who is in the 17th spot with a lap of 58.196 seconds (130.277 mph). Marlboro Team Penske rookie Tarso Marques will start 23rd, having switched from a Penske chassis to a Lola, similar to that of his teammate Unser. His quickest lap was 59.385 seconds (127.669 mph). The start of the race is Sunday at 2:30 p.m. (EDT). It will be televised live on ESPN.

Roberto Moreno, No. 18, Motorola Mercedes/Firestone (Fifth/57.478 seconds) "We put new tires on the car, and I just pushed a little harder. The team got the tires to the right pressure, and I was able to squeeze the time out of the car. I just went a little extra under braking and pushed the throttle a little more. The Mercedes engine was superb. The course is very bumpy. But we got the setup to where the car rides the bumps very well, so we went much faster."

Patrick Carpentier, No. 33, Player's/Forsythe Mercedes/Firestone (Sixth/57.540 seconds) "The Player's team did an excellent job from this morning to this afternoon. We should be up front tomorrow in the race. We tried something this morning, and it didn't work. So we went back to our setup from yesterday, and the engineers were able to improve that some. Now it is much better. The further back you are on the grid the better your chances for getting involved in an accident, so we're pretty happy to be near the front."

Greg Moore, No. 99, Player's/Forsythe Mercedes/Firestone (Seventh/57.541 seconds) "This is a very tough race track. You can drive around at one level all day long, but it takes a lot to get that last little bit and put in a fast lap. Turn one is very dicey. Hopefully, tomorrow we'll get through okay. Then we'll see where we can go from there. The track is so wide that you sometimes get cars six-and seven-wide, so you have to be real careful for sure."

Mauricio Gugelmin, No. 17, Hollywood Mercedes/Firestone (Ninth/57.597 seconds) "It was a good day. We made a lot of progress with the balance of the car. We still need to improve the ride quality because that will be key to having a consistent car tomorrow. It's one thing to have a single quick lap-it's another to maintain that speed over the course of the race. I'm very happy with the direction that we're heading. All in all, it was a very positive day."

Al Unser Jr., No. 2, Marlboro Team Penske/Mercedes/Goodyear (14th/58.105 seconds) "Cleveland is always tough on equipment. After yesterday's qualifying run, we decided to work on race setup so our Marlboro Mercedes Lola is ready to go the distance tomorrow. It's going to be a very competitive race given the close qualifying times, so we have our work cut out for us."

Helio Castro-Neves, No. 9, Hogan Racing Mercedes/Firestone (17th/58.196 seconds) "Racing with this team, I never have any doubt I can go fast everytime I get in the car. It's just a matter of getting everything together. Things happen. We just didn't have data from this track since we've never run here before with the Lola. Plus, there were too many red flags. This team is awesome. We have a good package. I know that when we least expect it, good things are going to happen."

Tarso Marques, No. 3, Marlboro Team Penske/Mercedes/Goodyear (23rd/59.385 seconds) "This morning was my first time in the Marlboro Mercedes Lola at this track, and obviously we have a lot of work to do on the balance. After Al's qualifying run yesterday, we decided to switch to the Lola for today's practice and qualifying. We'll continue to work on the setup tomorrow morning and hopefully learn more about the car."

Final Qualifying, Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland Cleveland, Ohio June 26, 1999

Pos.    Driver                  Engine          Time    Speed
1       Juan Montoya            Honda           56.813  133.448
2       Gil de Ferran           Honda           57.017  132.971
3       Michael Andretti        Ford Cosworth   57.238  132.457
4       Bryan Herta             Ford Cosworth   57.414  132.051
5       Roberto Moreno          Mercedes-Benz   57.478  131.904
6       Patrick Carpentier      Mercedes-Benz   57.540  131.762
7       Greg Moore              Mercedes-Benz   57.541  131.760
8       Paul Tracy              Honda           57.575  131.682
9       Mauricio Gugelmin       Mercedes-Benz   57.597  131.632
10      Dario Franchitti        Honda           57.604  131.616
14      Al Unser Jr.            Mercedes-Benz   58.105  130.481
17      Helio Castro-Neves      Mercedes-Benz   58.196  130.277
23      Tarso Marques           Mercedes-Benz   59.385  127.669

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Tarso Marques , Roberto Moreno , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Mauricio Gugelmin , Bryan Herta , Greg Moore
Teams Team Penske