Lola sweeps top three in Montreal qualifying; firm will consolidate Huntingdon works. CART's first visit to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on the Ile Notre Dame in Montreal produced familiar results in provisional qualifying. Driving a lap of ...
Lola sweeps top three in Montreal qualifying; firm will consolidate Huntingdon works.
CART's first visit to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on the Ile Notre Dame in Montreal produced familiar results in provisional qualifying. Driving a lap of 79.465 seconds (122.726mph), Cristiano da Matta earned provisional pole (and one point) in the #6 Havoline Lola/Toyota for Sunday's 80-lap contest around the 2.709-mile road course. Scott Dixon was second in the #44 Team Target Lola/Toyota at 79.755 seconds (122.279mph) and Kenny Brack took third in the #12 Team Target Lola/Toyota at 79.873 seconds (122.099mph). Eight drivers qualified within one second.
In nabbing his eighth front-row start of the 2002 season, da Matta credited his team's preparation at this new track. "The car is working good and the team got it right from the start. There's a lot less pressure on me for tomorrow, but there's still a long way to go to make the car right for Sunday's race," he said. "This track is a lot of fun, requiring hard braking and good traction. It's very smooth and there are a lot of different lines to use."
Dixon, getting familiar with his crew after less than three months together said, "We didn't change much for the qualifying session today. It was a simple matter of getting a clear lap when everybody was out there at the end of the session." His quick tour was set on his ninth of twelve laps during the session. Brack found the Gilles Villeneuve circuit "a little tight for our cars. We didn't change anything during qualifying today; it was a simple matter of getting a lap." The Swede turned his fast lap on his final, tenth tour of the traditional road course. CART modified qualifying rules this week, giving the 18 entrants 15 minutes of practice, ten minutes of downtime and 35 minutes of time trials.
Lola chairman Martin Birrane, on site for the Molson Indy Montreal, announced the firm is consolidating its factory space in England. "We believe we can best service our customers from the larger of our two buildings on Glebe Road, supplying our CART, sports car and F3000 clientele. Placing our workforce into one facility will aid our efficiency," Birrane stated.
Today's CART qualifying was held under perfect conditions, with sunny skies and 76-77 degree air temps and track temperatures between 106-108 degrees. Weather forecasts for Saturday present a threat of thundershowers, making today's qualifying even more critical for teams. Final qualifying will be shown live on Speed 1:45-2:45pm EDT. The same time limitations exercised today will be in effect for tomorrow's session.