Brack and da Matta duel for provisional pole. Swede gains point for Friday fast lap at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Kenny Brack nabbed pole position for Sunday's feature Shell 300 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, after a classic duel with Cristiano...
Brack and da Matta duel for provisional pole.
Swede gains point for Friday fast lap at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Kenny Brack nabbed pole position for Sunday's feature Shell 300 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, after a classic duel with Cristiano da Matta at the seminal 2.238-mile road course in Monterey, CA. Brack in the #12 Team Target Lola/Toyota and da Matta, driving the #6 Chevron Lola/Toyota traded fast laps throughout the latter parts of the hour-long session. The Swede's 13th (of 14) tour of 70.066 seconds (114.989mph) was just .037 seconds fastest than da Matta's 70.103sec/114.928-mile lap on his 14th of 15 total laps.
"The car was very good today and the crew did a great job" adjusting to changing conditions on a cool, breezy northern California day, with air temperatures in the mid-70s and track temps between 108 and 111 degrees. "I can sleep in tomorrow and still be on the front row," Brack noted, as the provisional polesitter is guaranteed a front-row start. "This feels good. We've worked hard to get to this competitive level and, hopefully, we'll keep improving."
Da Matta had "traffic every single lap on my last set of tires" and was unable to mount a challenge to Brack in his allotted 15 laps. After being quickest in morning practice and, in fact, quickest in all but one road race session (at the initial Monterrey, Mexico round), da Matta is "looking forward to moving up one spot tomorrow. I like the new qualifying system and think it's working pretty well."
Tony Kanaan's first road racing competition in a #10 Pioneer/WorldCom Lola/Honda entry netted the fourth-best qualifying speed of 70.264 seconds (114.665mph), just .046 seconds behind third qualifier Patrick Carpentier. Kanaan was second in the morning practice. "We're very pleased with our first day on a road course with the Lola. It's a good feeling to come to a track and run well from the very start of the weekend." Christian Fittipaldi logged the fifth quickest lap in his #11 Lilly Lola/Toyota. Fittipaldi had problems in the morning but "went back to our Sneak Preview setup and the car was much better." Bruno Junqueira was 6th in the #4 Target Lola/Toyota. Four of the six top cars were Toyota-powered; eight of the top ten rode with a Lola chassis. The top nine cars were separated by a second.
Final qualifying is set for Saturday afternoon between 1:45 and 2:45pm PDT. Both qualifying sessions and the 87-lap Shell 300 are being televised live by Speed TV.