(Lexington, Oh) -- PacWest Racing's Mauricio Gugelmin led the Mercedes-Benz runners in the first qualifying session for this weekend's Miller Lite 200 when he qualified 10th on the provisional grid at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington,...
(Lexington, Oh) -- PacWest Racing's Mauricio Gugelmin led the Mercedes-Benz runners in the first qualifying session for this weekend's Miller Lite 200 when he qualified 10th on the provisional grid at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio today.
Gugelmin, driver of the #17 Nextel PacWest Mercedes-Benz, set a time of 1:06.919 around the 2.258-mile permanent road course on a day where a lot of on-track time was lost due to several spins, off-course excursions and minor accidents by several drivers in the 25-car field.
The result was Gugelmin's second best Friday qualifying on a road course this season -- his best effort coming with a provisional spot of eighth in Toronto last month.
Mark Blundell, driver of the #18 Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz, was 18th on the provisional grid after battling a handling problem in qualifying. The result was disappointing after the day had started positively in the morning practice session.
The other Mercedes-Benz runners in the field, Tony Kanaan, Michel Jourdain Jr and Luiz Garcia Jr were 16th, 19th and 25th respectively.
MAURICIO GUGELMIN - # 17 NEXTEL PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 10th @Qualifying: 1:06.919
"This afternoon the ride of my car was not as smooth as it was this morning," said Gugelmin.
"The track is changing a lot from session to session so our set-up from this morning did not carry over very well to the afternoon run and my car was all over the place.
"I am still battling a lot of push and we need to work on low and mid-speed corners.
"There is a lot of improvement in the car and it will be good to be in the top 50 percent of qualifiers tomorrow."
MARK BLUNDELL - # 18 MOTOROLA PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 16th @Qualifying: 1:07.877
"We finished the morning practice session with too much push, but we started the qualifying way too loose," said Blundell.
"We made a change mid-way through the session which certainly helped, but we still battled to get the balance right. It was a little disappointing considering we had a reasonable practice session this morning, but, as they say, 'today is only Friday'. I think there is plenty left in this car for tomorrow."
PROVISIONAL QUALIFYING TOP TEN: 1: Gil de Ferran 1:05.347; 2: Helio Castroneves 1:05.362; 3: Dario Franchitti 1:05.971; 4: Christian Fittipaldi 1:06.131; 5: Kenny Brack 1:06.317; 6: Adrian Fernandez 1:06.472; 7: Juan Montoya 1:06.534; 8: Cristiano da Matta 1:06.549; 9: Michael Andretti 1:06.627; 10: Mauricio Gugelmin 1:06.919.