CHAMPCAR/CART: Miami: Lola Saturday report

Rain puts kibosh on final CART qualifying. Kanaan keeps pole at his American "home" circuit A cell of rainstorms descended on the Miami, FL area Saturday, making life tough for any of 17 CART Champ Car drivers trying to bump ...

Rain puts kibosh on final CART qualifying.
Kanaan keeps pole at his American "home" circuit

A cell of rainstorms descended on the Miami, FL area Saturday, making life tough for any of 17 CART Champ Car drivers trying to bump #10 Pioneer/WorldCom Lola/Honda Tony Kanaan off the provisional pole he claimed Friday. Kanaan, in fact, was the only driver not to take timed laps during the session, running eleven laps the entire day.

There was a fierce battle for second day top speed that awards a point and front row start to the fastest driver. Scott Dixon held the top spot five times and succeeded in taking his first front-row spot in CART competition. The #44 Target Lola/Toyota starts second next to Kanaan based on his lap of 69.786 seconds (71.550mph) in the drying conditions. Air temps were in the 82-85 range, while the track heated from 87-105 degrees.

"We were hoping to keep that front row spot and the track improved to the end of the session in all but the turn 4-5 complex," the Kiwi admitted. "I think everyone had close moments with all the standing water, but I had a lot of fun." Sealant placed in that area of the track came up with the change in weather, adhering to tires and chassis alike.

While the starting order remains as determined on Friday, there were different names at the top of the time sheets during the 40-minute Saturday timed session. Christian Fittipaldi, an admitted rain master, was second for the day in his #11 Lilly Lola/Toyota, while Mario Dominguez, whose crash in the #55 Herdez Lola/Ford relegated him to 18th Friday, held the third best qualifying time. Point leader Cristiano da Matta was 4th in the #6 Chevron Lola/Toyota, while Kenny Brack took 5th in the #12 Target Lola/Toyota and Jimmy Vasser took 6th in the #8 Shell Lola/Ford.

Sunday's Grand Prix Americas is scheduled for 105 laps around the 1.387 16-turn street circuit. Pit windows are set for a maximum of 42 laps, with the pit window opening at lap 21. "For the amount of time they had to prepare this place," declared pole man Kanaan, "they've done a great job. I don't think you'll see much passing tomorrow. It's going to be a long race, so we have to keep ourselves in the hunt through the pit stops. Some people think we'll have lots of yellows, but I don't think so," Kanaan said.

The Grand Prix Americas will air on CBS Sports. Please check local listings for air time.

-lola-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Kenny Brack , Mario Dominguez , Cristiano da Matta