CHAMPCAR/CART: Mexico City: Lola Cars Saturday qualifying report

Lola bags top six slots in CART final qualifying: Junqueira continues to dominate for fourth pole of season. Bruno Junqueira secured his fourth pole position of the 2002 CART season, nabbing a second point this weekend by setting the fastest...

Lola bags top six slots in CART final qualifying: Junqueira continues to dominate for fourth pole of season.

Bruno Junqueira secured his fourth pole position of the 2002 CART season, nabbing a second point this weekend by setting the fastest speed in final qualifying for Sunday's Gran Premio Telmex/Gigante presented by Banamex/Visa. Touring the 2.786-mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course in Mexico City at 86.126 seconds (116.453mph) in the #4 Target Lola/Toyota, Junqueira retained top spot with his Friday track record speed as few drivers improved. Christian Fittipaldi starts second in the #11 Lilly Lola/Toyota, based on his Friday quick lap and Dario Franchitti kept third on the 19-car grid in the #27 Team KOOL Green Lola/Honda with his Friday time.

Among the few to lap quicker on this sunny day, where air temps ranged from 70-72 and track temps went from 106-111 degrees was Tony Kanaan, second in the session at 86.394 seconds (116.091mph). He'll bring the #10 Pioneer/WorldCom Lola/Honda to the flags in 4th place on Sunday but was "disappointed, because I know in my heart I have a better car than that." Three red flags halted the proceedings, one each for spins by Toranosuke Takagi, Franchitti and 2002 champ Cristiano da Matta.

Junqueira admitted his car was "very good yesterday and today. We've been fast in every session but because of the rain, the track became very slippery. There's not much downforce at this elevation (7800 feet) and that makes it very difficult to go quickly and keep the engine and brakes intact."

Jimmy Vasser's blown engine in pre-qualifying practice made him miss time trials in the #8 Shell Lola/Ford, yet he starts 5th using his Friday quick lap. Kenny Brack improved from 9th to take 6th starting spot in his final run for the #12 Target Lola/Toyota squad, based on a lap of 86.786 seconds (115.567mph). "We improved the car from yesterday and have a good car now," the Swede said. Patrick Carpentier starts 7th in the #32 Team Player's Reynard/Ford, next to Paul Tracy's #26 Team KOOL Green Lola/Honda. Tracy suffered an engine failure on-circuit and Franchitti spun in his oil, bringing out the 2nd red flag. Mario Dominguez recorded a season-best 9th place start in the #55 Herdez Lola/Ford, the fastest of three Mexicans at 86.975 seconds (115.316mph), improving from 12th. Michael Andretti starts 10th in his final, 309th CART start, bringing the #39 Motorola Lola/Honda under the timing stripes at 87.053 seconds (115.213mph).

Similar weather conditions are forecast for Sunday's 73-lap contest, which begins at 4pm EST. Speed Channel has live coverage of the 19th and final race of the season, with a half-hour preview show on the docket.

-lola-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Patrick Carpentier , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Kenny Brack , Mario Dominguez , Cristiano da Matta