MONTEREY, California (June 8, 2002)-- Today was not one of the more memorable days for Team Motorola at the 2.4-mile Laguna Seca Raceway, in fact it was one they would like to forget. Â "We knew coming into the weekend that we had an uphill battle...
MONTEREY, California (June 8, 2002)-- Today was not one of the more memorable days for Team Motorola at the 2.4-mile Laguna Seca Raceway, in fact it was one they would like to forget. "We knew coming into the weekend that we had an uphill battle with the learning curve on our new chassis," remarked Kim Green at the end of qualifying. "And I think we've reached the high point, or low point, on that curve depending on how you look at it." Andretti and Team Motorola had a gearbox problem in the morning practice session that limited their practice time and just weren't able to get to the sweet spot on a qualifying set-up this afternoon. "It was one of those days that every change we made just seemed to have the opposite effect on the car," explained Andretti. "And unfortunately, that opposite effect was to make the car slow. We've definitely got our work cut out for us tomorrow."
Andretti will start tomorrow's race from the 19th position for his 295th career Champ Car start. Andretti started 16th and finished 14th last year. Andretti has also had two victories at Laguna Seca in 1991 and 1992 and is hoping that he can replicate the run Max Papis made last year when he came from last to first. "We've left ourselves a lot of options on race strategy for tomorrow," said Kim Green. "And we'll attempt to leave the weekend with as many championship points as possible."
Cristiano DaMatta captured today's pole and also set the fastest combined qualifying time with a time of 1:09.473 seconds. Kenny Brack took second place with a time of 1:09.575 seconds and Bruno Junqueira qualified third with a time of 1:09.769 seconds. Michael Andretti's technical partners Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy finished 14th at 1:10.596 seconds and 16th at 1:10.616 seconds respectively in today's qualifying. Tomorrow's race begins at 1:30 p.m. PST and will be shown live on the SpeedChannel Network.
Kim Green -- General Manager
"This morning we lost valuable track time with a gear box problem. We knew in getting to know the Lola that the learning curve would be an uphill battle. Today we've hit the high point, or low point, of our learning curve depending on how you look at it. We've definitely got some work to do to try and improve the race car. With our starting position, we've left ourselves open to a variety of race strategies tomorrow. Our goal tomorrow will be to take as many championship points as possible from this weekend because in the end, the championship is what matters most. In addition, we'll take all that we have learned with the Lola chassis this weekend and look forward to having a much better qualifying car in Portland. "