CHAMPCAR/CART: Motegi: Team Rahal quailfying report

Vasser grabs third top ten start of 2002. MOTEGI, JAPAN . . . Shell Ford-Cosworth/Lola driver Jimmy Vasser qualified ninth for Saturday's Bridgestone Potenza 500 at the Twin Ring Motegi Raceway, giving the 1996 CART Champion his third...

Vasser grabs third top ten start of 2002.

MOTEGI, JAPAN . . . Shell Ford-Cosworth/Lola driver Jimmy Vasser qualified ninth for Saturday's Bridgestone Potenza 500 at the Twin Ring Motegi Raceway, giving the 1996 CART Champion his third top-ten start of the 2002 season. Vasser, who turned a fast lap of 211.596 mph on Friday, posted a top-five result at Motegi in 2001 despite starting 21st.

Michel Jourdain Jr. piloted the Gigante car to the 13th spot on the starting grid. Jourdain, currently third in the CART points race, is driving just his third race for Team Rahal. With a finish of sixth or better on Sunday Jourdain can establish a new career high for points in a CART season. Jourdian is seeking his third straight points paying result at Motegi and enters Saturday's race with back-to-back top-five results in 2002.

Team Rahal won the CART stop at Motegi last year when then Shell driver Kenny Brack started sixth and cruised to his first CART victory. Team Rahal has four wins and four runner-up results in the last eight CART oval races.

Speed Channel will broadcast Saturday's race on a tape delayed basis at 12:30 PM EDT.

Jimmy Vasser (#8 Shell Ford-Cosworth/Lola on Bridgestone tires) - "That was about the lap time I thought we could run in qualifying on our own. I think some of the other guys have gone a little bit quicker than I thought they could run. If you look at the times it is obvious that the Japanese manufacturers are having some qualifying tricks [special engines] out here. Team Rahal won this race last year starting from sixth so we are just a little further back and I know we have a good solid car for the race. We worked on our race set-up quite a bit yesterday and I am real happy with the car."

Michel Jourdain Jr. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola on Bridgestone tires) - "The tow [draft] has been making a big difference for some of these guys this weekend and you saw some of the guys went a lot slower than they did this morning when they had to run by themselves. I am very happy with the Gigante car and we have spent a lot of time working on our race set-up. Tomorrow is a very, very long race and we need to finish with no problems and to get some more points out of this race. Bobby [Rahal] and Scott [Roembke] keep telling me to focus on the big picture and maximize the points. We have to keep scoring points to stay in the championship. Because the car has been very consistent all week I feel pretty good for tomorrow."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Kenny Brack , Michel Jourdain