Grand Prix Americas Saturday "Quoteboard" TONY KANAAN ( ...
Grand Prix Americas Saturday "Quoteboard"
TONY KANAAN (#10 Pioneer/WorldCom Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "For me, I can't complain. It was an easy day for me. I did five laps this morning in the practice session. We didn't go out in the afternoon, but it was a smart move. It's my hometown, so I can control the weather a little [laughing]. It's going to be dry for tomorrow. Overall, our car was good out of the box and I just worked on scuffing the race tires in the practice this morning. We have a huge advantage starting up front, but it will be a good battle with these guys up front and the guys in the back. Strategy could also play a big part."
SCOTT DIXON (#44 Target Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone): "It was a big improvement every lap for us, that's the main reason we stayed out there. We tried to stay out and kept turning fast times. The circuit was pretty good overall except for the turn six area. The easiest was to test the section for our race tomorrow will be the ALMS [American Le Mans Series] race later today. I think it's three hours long, so it will probably tear it up. But they've [track organizers] done a great job with what they've had so far."
TORA TAKAGI (#5 Pioneer Denso Special Toyota/Reynard/Bridgestone): "Starting from third position tomorrow on this track is very good because it's difficult to overtake somebody here. I can hold my position on the start and hopefully stay in line with the fast group."
KENNY BRACK (#12 Target Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone): "Today was pretty good for us. I had a good lap going on the last lap and I ran into some traffic. I don't know if I had enough to catch Scott, but it would have been close. It was good that Dixon was fastest today to get Team Target a car up front."
ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "There's a lot of tar on the track and it was being sprayed by the cars in front of me and it was a difficult situation because of the changing conditions. It's good that we qualified well yesterday because nobody improved their position. It's too bad because I think we had a car good enough to move up into the front row but unfortunately we couldn't show that today. I'm very confident for tomorrow but I just hope there's no rain."
CRISTIANO DA MATTA (#6 Chevron Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone): "It's pretty important that everybody else we are fighting for the Championship with is not ahead of us but behind us although they are close. Just staying on track is going to be a big deal in the race. Turns one and two are pretty tight. I think we can run a good race but we will have to have a conservative start. Everybody is going to have to behave well on the start so all of the cars can get through. I think there will be a lot of yellows because of crashes. I'm surrounded by guys that I'm fighting with for the Championship. In front of me are guys who aren't in it for the Championship so we will have to keep adjusting our strategy based on our progress as well as how Bruno and Dario are doing in the race. If we can just make some gains in the Championship, it will be a successful race for us. To clinch the Championship would be great because it would take a little bit of pressure off of us for the rest of the season but to just make gains would be good."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (#27 KOOL Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "With the delay I wasn't sure what was happening and when we went out I thought we were on the ten-minute practice session. Kyle (Moyer, team manager) tried to tell me but I guess I was trying to talk to him on the radio at the same time. I was having some fun and trying things to see how the car was handling when I spun and brought out the red flag. I didn't realize we were in the qualifying session, but we were. I lost my fastest lap. The KOOL car is handling well in the wet conditions, but I can't even describe how slippery the track was. I was getting held up at the end of the session when I turned my fast lap. I think we could have been even quicker."
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI (#11 Lilly Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone): "We almost were able to make the jump from an eighth place start to a second place start. Even though it was highly unlikely that we could run times faster than our Friday qualifying time since the track was wet, everyone's goal was to be the fastest guy in the session and earn a front row start. There was really nothing else to gain unless the track miraculously dried and we could beat yesterday's times. We'll just have to make the most of an eighth place start but it's going to be tough here because passing is going to require as much luck as skill because the track is narrow."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone) "Conditions were tough today with the rain. We didn't do many laps this morning. You needed to qualify on pole today to get the second starting spot [on the grid] and we were not even close to that. It was very slippery through Turns 3, 4, 5 and 6 - it was absolutely undriveable through there. The conditions really limited the lap times today. I made a mistake and almost crashed in Turn 6, which obviously cost me some momentum, but I still didn't have two seconds to be able to beat [Scott] Dixon's time today. Apart from that, it is nice to be in Miami. Chris [Pook] said they are going to make some changes to the track layout for next year, and it is worth it to be here now and build momentum for next year."
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (#4 Target Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone): "It was not until the end of the session that the track started to dry. There was a lot of traffic out there and I had a lot of trouble finding a clear lap. It was really slippery and I was just trying to keep it on the track. The team will work hard for tomorrow's race and we should be able to move forward, where we need to be."
SHINJI NAKANO (#52 Alpine/Mitsuba Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "The conditions were very difficult today, and we kept chasing the changing conditions this afternoon during qualifying. It is tough to say how good the car is for tomorrow, especially since we are not sure what the weather will do. For the dry conditions, I think we have a pretty good car. Tomorrow is going to be a little bit of a challenge for everybody. Hopefully the weather will hold and we will have a good race."
JIMMY VASSER (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "It was fun out there today but, with these cars, you are just sliding around. I couldn't see half of the time. I did get by (Oriol) Servia and that was wild. Cause I basically couldn't see. It was like an ice rink. You had to be very, very precise. It was like slow motion at times. It was really tricky. Hey, if it rains in race, I think you could push your way to the front. You just nudge a car and it will fly out of the way. The track conditions will really dictate what happens in the race. It's going to be a wide-open event. I think just about anybody could win with this track. But I would like to start up in the front. We'll have to wait and see what happens."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (#39 Motorola Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "We sat in the pit and watched the early part of session. The track started to dry out which played right into our hands. When I went out on my first run I set the quickest lap of the session at that time, so I was feeling confident. I think I was on an even quicker lap when the red flag came out. It's disappointing because with the strategy we had planned there was a possibility of us starting on the front row. It definitely would have been to our advantage to turn the last lap in qualifying but we didn't get it. The race is going to be so tough, the track is really tight. Team Motorola will have to make up some positions on pit lane."
MICHEL JOURDAIN (#9 Office Depot Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "Today you had to be in the right place at the right time. At the end, we just got two laps and other guys got three. But that is the way the pits were laid out. We are at pit in and we had to slow down to get some clear track at the end. It was the same for everybody. I hope it rains in the race because we have a good rain car. It will be pretty hard to come through the field from the back but, with this track, anything can happen."
PAUL TRACY (#26 KOOL Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "We just struggled out there. There's one section of the track that is so slippery that even when it had a dry line, it was worse than when it was wet. I could see the line and I just tried go a little quicker and I slid across the track and into the tire barriers. The conditions aren't great but there's a front-row starting spot up for grabs, and the fans came out to watch something so we like to give them something to see. I think it's going to be a tough race to finish. Team KOOL Green isn't starting where we want to be, but that's where we are so we've just got to do the best we can. It's a difficult track so it won't be easy. I don't know what the conditions will be tomorrow, but I think it's easier to pass in the wet rather than dry."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "It was either first or nothing today and were running third at one point in the session. Just before the last little sprint I thought we had a chance to get it so I left the pit really aggressive. I went around what they call the horseshoe, which is really slippery, and it wasn't too bad that time. So I started accelerating and the next corner was as slippery as it was before and I just backed it in, but we tried."
MARIO DOMINGUEZ (#55 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "All season we have seemed to have all the bad luck, but the rain worked maybe to our advantage. I think I might have been able to get the fastest time of the session but I ran into some traffic when I came back out late in the qualifying run. Third fastest of the day was good for us though."