CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland Saturday qualifying report

Budweiser/G.I. Joe's 200 Portland International Raceway 19 June 1999 Saturday Qualifying Report by Alan Perry, motorsport.com Because of the rain during the "fast" group qualifying on Friday, the grouping in today's qualifying session was a...

Budweiser/G.I. Joe's 200 Portland International Raceway 19 June 1999

Saturday Qualifying Report by Alan Perry, motorsport.com

Because of the rain during the "fast" group qualifying on Friday, the grouping in today's qualifying session was a little unusual.

Group 1

The first group, the slower cars from Friday, consisted of Papis, de Ferran, Montoya, Moore, Kanaan, Fernandez, Gugelmin, Andretti, Vasser, Salles, Herta, Jones, Hattori and Fittipaldi.

Kanaan was the first to make a significant improvement on yesterday's time with a 1:03, but Herta was first to beat the best time from yesterday with a 59.136. Within a couple laps almost all of the drivers were doing at least 59s. And soon after that, 58s were common.

With 24 minutes to go, the order was Herta, Fernandez, Fittipaldi, Vasser, de Ferran, Moore, Kanaan, Gugelmin, Montoya and Jones.

There was only one red flag in the session and it was brief. Moore spun in turn 1, but was able to get the car restarted and drove around. He did not come back onto the track until almost the end of the session.

Immediately after that, there was little improvements. Andretti managed a time good for 7th and that was about it. With about ten minutes to go, drivers started trying for fast times, but few succeeded. Much of this could be attrobuted to traffic.

de Ferran held pole for a bit with a 58.339, but then Montoya got it with a 58.193, a time that would hold until the end of the day. As the session drew to an end of the session, cars started dropping out. First, it was de Ferran, then Moore, then Vasser. Herta and Montoya tried, but could not improve.

Everyone was going faster than all of the times from yesterday, except for Hattori, who could only get a 1:02.901 in 15 laps of trying. At least he got the Budweiser Accelerator Award for the biggest improvement from Friday to Saturday.

At the end of the first group's session, the order was Montoya, de Ferran, Herta, Fernandez, Vasser, Fittipaldi, Papis, Moore, Andretti, Gugelmin, Kanaan, Salles, Jones and Hattori.

Group 2

The second group, the faster car from Friday qualifying, consisted of Hearn, Carpentier, Gordon, Castro-Neves, Moreno, Jourdain, Unser, Marques, Garcia, Pruett, Gidley, da Matta, Franchitti and Tracy.

Except of Franchitti and Tracy, there was little expectation that the the first group's times were in danger. However, the threat ended up coming from someone else.

Franchitti's challenge for the pole as not to be. He quickly went out and put in a time good for 12th overall, but, after several attempts, he could not improve. When he went out on the second set of tires, the performance of the car got worse and he could not attempt a last minute run for the pole.

Tracy did better, only managed to go from 10th overall to 8th to 6th. Carpentier also did well, who eventually finished 8th overall.

Castro-Neves was the surprise of the session. He went from 15th overall to 13th to 7th to 2nd with a 58.282. He was putting in one last lap, taking a few more chances. Unfortunately, he ran out of fuel before the last turn and coasted into the pits.

This was not a good qualifying session for Team Penske or Unser. Unser was driving a Lola instead of a Penske chassis. Marquez qualified 18th and Unser was down at 26th

At the end of the second group's session, their order within the group was Castro-Neves, Tracy, Carpentier, Moreno, Frachitti, da Matta, Marquez, Pruett, Gordon and Hearn.

The combined top ten was Montoya, Castro-Neves, de Ferran, Herta, Fernandez, Tracy, Vasser, Carpentier, Fittipaldi and Papis.

Everyone improved on their times from yesterday's qualifying.

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Series IndyCar
Teams Team Penske