Tracy earns provisional role in Mexico City; Four Lola championship contenders in top five. Paul Tracy put his ...
Tracy earns provisional role in Mexico City; Four Lola championship contenders in top five.
Paul Tracy put his #3 Team Player¹s Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone Champ Car right where he needed to be this afternoon in provisional qualifying for Sunday¹s Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante presented by Banamex-Visa. Posting a lap of 88.842 seconds (112.893mph) around the 2.786-mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course, in his first stint Tracy said, ³We¹re very happy with this provisional pole. It¹s what we need to do,² getting an additional point and securing a front-row start. ³We know there are still improvements we can make and we¹re going to Saturday¹s qualifying with the same intensity and purpose.²
The Canadian¹s prime pursuer, Bruno Junqueira was second quickest in the #1 PacifiCare Lola with a tour of 88.905 seconds (112.813mph), just .063 seconds in arrears. Junqueira held pole position in 2002 at this circuit and considers it one of his favorites. ³It¹s so fast and it has fast corners and long straights. We were fast this morning but I thought it would be perfect for qualifying with more rubber on the track,² he noted. ³I think we can go even faster tomorrow.² Junqueira trails Tracy 205-191 with three races to run.
Rookie Sebastien Bourdais, who could clinch Jim Trueman Rookie of the Year honors at this race was third in provisional qualifying with a lap of 89.110 seconds (112.553mph) in the #2 Lilly Lola, repainted in green livery this weekend to showcase Cialis, a new drug produced by the pharmaceutical giant. Bourdais¹ team worked on different setups in the morning yet ³Bruno¹s car was better so we used his setup. The track is hard right now due to some smaller bumps, not big ones. We¹ll make some changes for tomorrow.²
Despite feeling ill, Jimmy Vasser was fourth in the #12 American Spirit Team Johansson Reynard. Title contestant Michel Jourdain Jr. recovered from a late spin to take fifth for the afternoon in his #9 Gigante Lola at 89.387 seconds (112.204mph). The 75,000 Mexican fans looked on during the session, held under partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the high 60s to low 70s as Jourdain, who led laps here in CART¹s return to Mexico City produced the best result of the six Mexican drivers competing this weekend.
Saturday time trials will define the 20-car field for Sunday¹s 70-lap contest at this former Formula One circuit. There are threats of rain that could scotch anyone¹s attempt to improve on their provisional qualifying speeds.