CHAMPCAR/CART: PacWest driver face Mid-Ohio challenge

(Lexington, Oh) -- PacWest drivers Mauricio Gugelmin and Mark Blundell face one of their tougher tests of the 2000 FedEx Championship when they line-up outside the top 10 for tomorrow's Miller Lite 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in ...

(Lexington, Oh) -- PacWest drivers Mauricio Gugelmin and Mark Blundell face one of their tougher tests of the 2000 FedEx Championship when they line-up outside the top 10 for tomorrow's Miller Lite 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

Gugelmin, driver of the #17 Nextel PacWest Mercedes-Benz, set a time of 1:06.529 around the 2.258-mile permanent road course to qualify 13th today, but the time could have been better with a little luck on his side. The Miami-based Brazilian was on his fastest lap of the day when the session was red flagged due to an accident involving Gil de Ferran -- ironically de Ferran had earlier set a time of 1:05.537, which was good enough for pole position.

Although he missed a chance at a better time, Gugelmin was the fastest Mercedes-Benz runner ahead of teammate Blundell (18th), Tony Kanaan (19th), Michel Jourdain (24th) Luiz Garcia Jr (25th). Blundell, driver of the #18 Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz, struggled in the earlier qualifying group on a "greener" race surface and had a spin late in the session while trying to extract everything from his Reynard.

MAURICIO GUGELMIN - # 17 NEXTEL PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 13th
Qualifying: 1:06.529s

"I was on my fastest lap with four turns to go when the red flag flew ending my qualifying session," said Gugelmin.

"My car was working very well, although I need to get some help with my braking because I am loose when I get on the brake pedal. The overall driveability is good.

"There is only really one good place to pass on this race track so strategy will play an important role in tomorrow's race.

"We just have to be patient and work our way through the field one by one."

MARK BLUNDELL - # 18 MOTOROLA PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 18th
Qualifying: 1:07.069

"We gave it our best shot and came up a little short," said Blundell.

"Being in the first qualifying group is always tough, especially when you have a few of the support categories on the track just before your session.

"It was actually a few laps before we got enough rubber down to do any times and I think that is an issue that needs to be looked at.

"On my last lap I had a little spin basically just trying to get everything out of the car that I could. I was having a big go and sometimes that happens."

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Tony Kanaan , Mauricio Gugelmin , Mark Blundell , Michel Jourdain , Luiz Garcia Jr.