Kanaan qualifies fourth for Sunday's Gran Premio Telmex/Gigante MEXICO CITY (Saturday, Nov. 16, 2002) -- Tony Kanaan and the ...
Kanaan qualifies fourth for Sunday's Gran Premio Telmex/Gigante
MEXICO CITY (Saturday, Nov. 16, 2002) -- Tony Kanaan and the #10 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Lola moved up one spot in the qualifying order today and will start Sunday's Gran Premio Telmex/Gigante on the outside of the second row. Kanaan turned the second-fastest lap in today's final qualifying session at 1 minute, 26.027 seconds (116.587 mph) around the 2.747-mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit, more than three-tenths of a second faster than the time he turned Friday to earn the fifth spot on the provisional grid. His lap today was beaten on the track only by provisional polesitter Bruno Junqueira, who bettered his effort from Friday with a lap today of 1:25.941 (116.703 mph). Kanaan and Junqueira were the only two drivers at the top of the grid to improve upon their times from Friday.
Christian Fittipaldi will start second Sunday by virtue of his provisional qualifying lap Friday of 1:26.027 (116.587 mph). Dario Franchitti will start third, also based on his lap from Friday of 1:26.147 (116.424 mph). Kanaan actually had the fastest lap of today's session until Junqueira beat it on what turned out to be the final green-flag tour of the circuit. Had Kanaan been the fastest in the session, he would have been guaranteed a front-row starting spot, and he believed he had at least one more shot at the pole when the session came to a mysterious end. What he and his fellow competitors were expecting to be one last green-flag qualifying lap in the closing seconds was dashed when the checkered flag unexplainably came out during a restart that began with some 40 seconds remaining. On previous restarts in the closing minutes, the session clock typically did not start until the field crossed the start-finish line on the track, which was the case on a restart today less than two minutes prior.
Nonetheless, it will be Kanaan's fourth consecutive top-four starting position, a run that includes poles at Miami and Fontana and a third at Australia.
Race time Sunday is 3 p.m. local time (4 p.m. EST) with SPEED Channel's live coverage beginning with a pre-race show at 3:30 p.m. EST.
TONY KANAAN QUOTES
"Once again, I have to say we're disappointed to have to start fourth when I know in my heart that I have a better car than that. My guys did an excellent job of giving me a car that looked like it was going to start on the front row tomorrow, but we never got the chance to prove it in the end. Bruno (Junqueira) got me on the first lap after that first restart, but I thought for sure I would have one more chance to get him back. Then we went red for Cristiano (Da Matta's) spin with still some time left on the clock, and for some reason they started the clock right away and we never even had time to get around the track one time. I'm dying to hear the explanation on that one. I'm leaving after this season's over tomorrow, as everybody knows. There are a lot of people and places and things that I'm going to miss about this series, but that kind of thing that happened today at the end of the session definitely is not one of them. Maybe one day they'll get it right."