Gonzalez Grids a Career-Best 12th; Vasser Solid in Seventh MONTERREY, Mexico (May 22, 2004) -- With Champ Car's decision in place to revert back to the series' familiar second-day qualifying format, PKV Racing improved their overall positions ...
Gonzalez Grids a Career-Best 12th; Vasser Solid in Seventh
MONTERREY, Mexico (May 22, 2004) -- With Champ Car's decision in place to revert back to the series' familiar second-day qualifying format, PKV Racing improved their overall positions in qualifying today for Sunday's fourth annual Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix in picturesque Monterrey, Mexico.
After bringing out a Red Flag midway through the session for a long, lazy spin exiting Turn 12 which resulted in some minor front left wing damage, Roberto Gonzalez (#21 Nextel Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was back on track late in the session after some great pit work, but could not crack the top 10.
However, the Monterrey native will start a career-best 12th in tomorrow's race after posting a fast lap of 1:15.791 (99.938 mph), making him the second highest of four Mexican drivers starting tomorrow's event at Fundidora Park. Gonzalez' previous best start was 17th at Long Beach in Round 1 earlier this season.
"I tried to go a little quicker entering Turn 12, but on the exit the car pushed wide and I spun and just clipped the wall," said Gonzalez. "The guys really did an excellent job swapping the front wing out and getting me back out there. Unfortunately, the Red Flag came out with less than three minutes to go, just when we were coming back on track with new tires and a few good laps left in the car. I think we could have broken into the top 10 for sure. It's disappointing, but we will continue to try our best."
American teammate and Champ Car star Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) qualified in the top 10 with a seventh-place run after posting a quick time of 1:15.183 (100.746 mph), an improvement from Long Beach where the 1996 Series Champion qualified 10th.
"We were a bit better today for sure," said Vasser. "We actually ended up reverting back to our original setup. We still have some room for improvement, but we're definitely moving in the right direction up the grid, and that's the most important thing."
The 35-minute session was cut short with just under three minutes remaining (two full timed laps) when Nelson Philippe of Rocketsports Racing brought out the Red and Checkered flags for stopping on course.
Catch Gonzalez, Vasser and the rest of the PKV Racing crew tomorrow for raceday when the team's duo of 750hp Lolas get after it in Round 2 of the championship, the 72-lap (151.488-mile) Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix at Fundidora Park (Spike TV, 4:00 pm ET/PT).