Bruno best all day at Mexico City; leads practice and provisional qualifying in CART season finale. Bruno Junqueira knows he needs maximum points in this year's last race, the Gran Premio Telmex/Gigante presented by Banamex/Visa to secure second...
Bruno best all day at Mexico City; leads practice and provisional qualifying in CART season finale.
Bruno Junqueira knows he needs maximum points in this year's last race, the Gran Premio Telmex/Gigante presented by Banamex/Visa to secure second in the standings. Hustling his #4 Team Target Lola/Toyota around the challenging 16-turn, 2.786-mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road circuit, Junqueira was class of the 19-car field in morning practice, and in provisional qualifying logged a lap of 85.941 seconds (116.703mph). He gained a point in the process and guaranteed himself a front-row spot for Sunday's 73-lap contest.
"I pushed very, very hard on that last lap," Junqueira exulted. "This is a pretty nice track here in Mexico City and I just love road circuits. I like this track and its high speed corners, plus the guys gave me a really good car today." Qualifying was held under cloudy skies with intermittent moisture and Christian Fittipaldi, 5th in points, drove to the second-quickest lap in his #11 Lilly Lola/Toyota at 86.027 seconds (116.587mph), just .086 seconds behind. The veteran said, "I put a lap together that was just perfect and got everything out of the car. If somebody beats me," he said, "they'll earn it!"
Dario Franchitti, currently 4th in points, placed the #27 Team KOOL Green Lola/Honda third with a lap of 86.147 seconds (116.424mph) and was delighted. "This is an awesome place with so much variety. We expected a big downpour so we did our time mid-session." Jimmy Vasser was 4th in the #8 Shell Lola/Ford at 86.703 seconds (115.678mph), and observed, "It's nice to be in the top five on a road course. This is a fantastic circuit and very fun to drive." Tony Kanaan placed 5th at 86.719 seconds (115.656mph) in the #10 Pioneer/WorldCom Lola/Honda but had problems in both his primary and spare cars. "My guys will work on sorting things and I'm confident we can move up," he said. Patrick Carpentier was 6th in the #32 Players Reynard/Ford.
German newcomer Andre Lotterer drove Dale Coyne's #19 J.A.G. Sports Lola/Ford to 18th for the day in his first taste of Champ Car competition. "I'm still learning to find the point where the tires are at their best. I have to learn a lot, very quickly." Final qualifying is set for 12:45pm EST Saturday and will be televised on Speed at 3:30pm tape delayed.