CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland Mercedes final qualifying report

Carpentier Maintains Top Spot Among Mercedes-Benz Teams At Portland Portland Circuit Continues To Bedevil Teams The Player's/Forsythe Team maintained its advantage over the rest of the Mercedes-powered teams, but that was small ...

Carpentier Maintains Top Spot Among Mercedes-Benz Teams At Portland Portland Circuit Continues To Bedevil Teams

The Player's/Forsythe Team maintained its advantage over the rest of the Mercedes-powered teams, but that was small consolation to "Blue Crew" teammates Patrick Carpentier and Greg Moore as they saw their qualifying positions slip to 11th and 14th respectively. The qualifying session was cut short when Christian Fittipaldi's Reynard Ford ran out of fuel on the course preventing a number of teams from capitalizing on hoped-for improvements in their chassis set-ups.

PacWest teammates Mauricio Gugelmin and Mark Blundell had to settle for mid-grid positions on the eighth row, while Marlboro Team Penske teammates Andre Ribeiro and Al Unser Jr. followed directly behind on the ninth tier.

Team Alumax's Helio Castro-Neves struggled with an understeering race car to qualify 19th while Team Hogan Racing's JJ Lehto did manage to improve his lap times but could not qualify better than the outside of the 12th row.

Starting on the front row for tomorrow's Budweiser/G.I. Joe's 200 will be pole position winner Brian Herta in a Reynard Ford alongside second-quickest qualifier Dario Franchitti in a Reynard Honda.

        The race will start at 2:00 p.m. PST on Sunday. ESPN-TV's live
telecast will begin at 5 p.m.  EST. 

Mercedes-Benz Driver Quotes

Patrick Carpentier, No. 33, Player's Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone - 11th - 59.227 seconds

"We had a chance today to make the top ten on the grid, but the session was cut short. My last lap would have been good for about eighth on the grid, but the red flag screwed us. The car was bottoming around the back of the circuit and that cost us because it made the pop-off valve go off and we lost some boost"

Greg Moore, No. 99, Player's Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone - 14th - 59.346 seconds

"For some reason the track is a lot more slippery than ever before, but I made a mistake and went a little too hard on a cold set of tires. I spun and flat-spotted the tires. Starting fourteenth tomorrow is going to make it tough. It'll be a slug-fast, but if any team can do it, our team can."

Mauricio Gugelmin, No. 17, Hollywood Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone - 15th - 59.401 seconds

"My car was a little bit better but I only got one hot lap in. On my quick lap, a red flag came out because of Christian (Fittipaldi) but I would have only been a tenth or two quicker. It's better than we have been but we still have some work to do."

Mark Blundell, No. 18, Motorola/Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone - 16th - 59.435 seconds

"It was a frustrating session. We had basically onegood lap and that was at the beginning of the session. We're still trying to get the car in balance. Because of technical problems, we spent a lot of time in the pits. We put fresh tires on, then we got caught up in the red flag."

Andre Ribeiro, No. 3, Marlboro Team Penske/Mercedes/Goodyear - 17th - 59.508 seconds

"We had a good practice this morning and the car was well balanced. During qualifying we developed oversteer on our first set of tires which we adjusted for but couldn't achieve the same balance on the second set. It will be interesting to see how consistent we will be able to run in the race tomorrow."

Al Unser Jr., No. 2, Marlboro Team Penske/Mercedes/Goodyear - 18th - 59.513 seconds

"We went to Andre's (Ribeiro) set-up which definitely helped us, but we weren't able to capitalize the way we wanted to. Tomorrow will be a race of patience and perseverance -- Marlbor Team Penske is going to give it their all. Also, I want to wish my dad a happy Father's Day tomorrow."

Helio Castro-Neves, No. 22, Team Alumax Reynard/Mercedes/Goodyear - 19th - 59.598 seconds

"We found about 9-tenths of a second which is a pretty good improvement, but we still have some improving to do. Some of the speed we found was due to aerodynamic changes and some was due to shock absorbers. Yesterday I had oversteer, today understeer. But as they say, tomorrow is another day."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Patrick Carpentier , Christian Fittipaldi , Dario Franchitti , Mauricio Gugelmin , Mark Blundell , Andre Ribeiro , Greg Moore , Brian Herta , JJ Lehto
Teams Team Penske