CHAMPCAR/CART: Mercedes Vancouver Friday notes

Mercedes-Benz's IC108F V8 Champ Car engine powered the race cars of drivers Tony Kanaan, 1997 race champion Mauricio Gugelmin and Michel Jourdain Jr. onto the top half of the provisional grid for Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver, round 15 of...

Mercedes-Benz's IC108F V8 Champ Car engine powered the race cars of drivers Tony Kanaan, 1997 race champion Mauricio Gugelmin and Michel Jourdain Jr. onto the top half of the provisional grid for Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver, round 15 of the CART FedEx Championship Series. Dario Franchitti scored the provisional pole with a qualifying lap around 1.781-mile Concord Pacific Place temporary street circuit in 61.067 seconds (104.993 mph).

Kanaan led the steadily improving Mercedes-Benz contingent, qualifying his Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes ninth with a lap in 61.938 seconds (103.516 mph).

"Today was a good day and I'm pretty happy," said the Brazilian driver, who is coming off an eighth place finish at Elkhart Lake. "It looks like we've brought some momentum from our last race and the good test we had at Laguna Seca. The car is working really well. Getting into the fast group tomorrow was important for us."

Gugelmin, third quickest in morning practice, clocked seven hot laps in the qualifying session and stood seventh fastest before making contact with the wall in Turn One on his eighth lap. Gugelmin was uninjured, but the car's left front suspension was damaged, leaving the Brazilian pilot with a qualifying time of 61.944 seconds (103.506 mph), quick enough for 10th position on the provisional grid.

"The car was a little loose under braking, and coming into Turn One, the rear end locked up a bit," said Gugelmin. "It made me turn in early; I rubbed the curb and that put me off. The car is quite good and I could have been quicker if not for this. I'm really disappointed, but at least we have (final qualifying) tomorrow."

Rounding out the top half of the provisional grid is Herdez/Bettenhausen Mercedes driver Michel Jourdain Jr., who qualified 12th by posting a qualifying lap of 62.064 seconds (103.306 mph).

Motorola/PacWest Racing Mercedes driver Mark Blundell lapped the circuit in 62.775 seconds (102.136 mph) to qualify 17th, while Luiz Garcia Jr. qualified 25th in his Hollywood/Arciero Project Racing Group Mercedes-Benz (64.070 seconds/100.072 mph).

Final qualifying will take place Saturday at 1:45 p.m. PDT. The green flag for the 90-lap Molson Indy Vancouver waves at 1 p.m. PDT Sunday.

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