CHAMPCAR/CART: Mercedes Vancouver Final Qualifying

For the second consecutive race weekend, Mark Blundell led the Mercedes-Benz contingent with a top-five qualifying performance. Blundell qualified his PacWest Motorola Mercedes fifth for Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver as rookie Juan Montoya ...

For the second consecutive race weekend, Mark Blundell led the Mercedes-Benz contingent with a top-five qualifying performance. Blundell qualified his PacWest Motorola Mercedes fifth for Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver as rookie Juan Montoya captured his sixth pole position of the CART season. Three other Mercedes-powered Champ Cars will start in the first six rows.

Blundell, who started on the front row two weeks ago at the inaugural Target Grand Prix at Chicago Motor Speedway, lapped the 1.781-mile Concord Pacific Place temporary street circuit in 60.957 seconds (105.182 mph), 0.316 seconds behind Montoya (60.641 seconds/105.730 mph).

Hometown favorite Greg Moore took ninth position on the grid with his Player's/Forsythe Mercedes after posting a qualifying lap of 61.467 seconds (104.310 mph). Close behind Moore were Mauricio Gugelmin and Patrick Carpentier with identical qualifying laps of 61.483 seconds (104.282 mph). Gugelmin will start the PacWest Hollywood Mercedes from 10th on the grid based on the results of Friday's provisional qualifying session. French Canadian Carpentier earned the 11th position for his Player's/Forsythe Mercedes by setting his quickest time on his final lap of the session.

Marlboro Team Penske driver Al Unser Jr. posted a qualifying lap of 62.822 seconds (102.060 mph) and will start from the 12th row. Hogan Racing teammates Helio Castro-Neves and Luiz Garcia Jr. qualified 26th and 27th, respectively.

Mark Blundell, No. 18, PacWest Racing Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone - Fifth "I'm happy for the guys. Qualifying went well, and the car is pretty good overall. We're the fastest Mercedes-Benz car, and that's always nice. We had a reasonable run on the second set of tires, but we needed one more lap to get another tenth of a second out of the car. Unfortunately, with the red flag, we didn't get a chance. We have a decent starting position, so I'm confident we'll have a good race."

Greg Moore, No. 99, Player's/Forsythe Racing Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone - Ninth "We made some small changes because we thought we really had a good car. We picked up a lot of time, but we seem to have reached a plateau in qualifying. But we are just as quick as everyone else on old tires, so we'll just have to see what develops during the race. There's a good place to pass at the end of the back straight. I've been flat through there fairly consistently, so if I can carry three or four mph more than someone else through that corner, I'll be able to get by them."

Mauricio Gugelmin, No. 17, PacWest Racing Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone - 10th "It was a bit of an unfortunate session. We lost the primary car and were forced to use the T-car for the first time this weekend. The installation lap was pretty good; we were P8. The T-car wasn't quite as good as my primary one, though. It was a bit loose on the entry to the corners. After we adjusted that and put on the second set of tires, the red flag came out and ended the session. It's a shame because we only had a chance to use one set of tires. It's disappointing, but I'm optimistic about the race."

Patrick Carpentier, No. 33, Player's/Forsythe Racing Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone - 11th "We made a lot of changes to the car for today's sessions-- springs, shocks, everything. At the end, I was going very fast in places that I was hesitating before. On the last corner, I went in fast, downshifted, and turned in. I didn't know if the car was going to turn, but I had decided to go for it. I'm very happy with the performance of the car and the Player's team." k

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Patrick Carpentier , Mauricio Gugelmin , Mark Blundell , Greg Moore , Luiz Garcia Jr.
Teams Team Penske