CHAMPCAR/CART: Mercedes Vancouver final qualifying notes

Provisional pole-sitter Dario Franchitti took the prime spot on the grid at final qualifying for Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver, besting his teammate Paul Tracy in record-setting time. Franchitti, who won this race from the pole in 1998,...

Provisional pole-sitter Dario Franchitti took the prime spot on the grid at final qualifying for Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver, besting his teammate Paul Tracy in record-setting time. Franchitti, who won this race from the pole in 1998, lapped the 1.781-mile Concord Pacific Place temporary street circuit in 60.405 seconds (106.144 mph). It was the Scotsman's second consecutive pole, and the 10th of his four-year CART career.

The Mercedes-Benz contingent could not improve on Friday's provisional qualifying results. Nextel/PacWest Racing Mercedes driver Mauricio Gugelmin, 10th in provisional qualifying, bested his Friday lap time on his final circuit of the race track (61.786 seconds/103.771 mph). Nevertheless, he starts 13th.

"Everybody is sliding here," said Gugelmin, who won the Vancouver event in 1997. "The faster guys are balanced with cold tires, but we're not, so we're struggling. We managed to go quicker on that very last lap, but we still have a lot of work to do for tomorrow."

Tony Kanaan struggled with the balance on his Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes-Benz, and will start in 14th position (61.938 seconds/103.516 mph).

"We developed an understeer problem that we've been fighting all day," Kanaan said. "It's frustrating because we got off to such a good start on Friday. We've lost five spots on the grid, which is a difficult thing on a street race. But we've seen drivers win from pretty far back on the grid. We'll just have to go back to the drawing board to try to solve our problem for tomorrow, and then stay out of trouble in the race."

Michel Jourdain Jr., who celebrated his 24th birthday with his Herdez Bettenhausen Motorsports teammates before the qualifying session, ran just one lap in qualifying today before his race car lost power. Jourdain Jr. stands on his provisional qualifying time of 62.064 seconds (103.306 mph), and is 17th on the grid. Motorola Mercedes pilot Mark Blundell qualified 20th (62.775 seconds/102.136 mph) while Hollywood/Arciero Project Racing Group driver Luiz Garcia Jr. starts 25th (64.070 seconds/100.072 mph).

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Mauricio Gugelmin , Mark Blundell , Michel Jourdain , Luiz Garcia , Mo Nunn