CHAMPCAR/CART: Rio de Janeiro Friday notes

Courtesy of TrackSide -- http://www.soundcity.net/TrackSide/ SCOTT PRUETT -- "We have been chasing around with a number of different setups ever since we got here. We didn't know what to expect when we came here, because obviously, it is our...

Courtesy of TrackSide -- http://www.soundcity.net/TrackSide/

SCOTT PRUETT -- "We have been chasing around with a number of different setups ever since we got here. We didn't know what to expect when we came here, because obviously, it is our first time on this track. I think we are going in the right direction now. We definitely made some improvement during the second session. We have to go back now and do some fine tuning and see what we can do (Saturday). I am pleased that we were able to run some consistent laps in the 40s (seconds). It is one of the things that this team, with the help of Firestone, really works on ... being consistent."

ROBBY GORDON -- On practice: "We ran a long distance run to see how consistent we could be. We think we have a really good car for the race.. (On qualifying and the race) "I think qualifying will be on thing, but racing is what counts. I think we can be reliable and hopefully, we can get down the straights and pass people. That's going to be the hardest thing.''

SCOTT GOODYEAR -- On practice: "We've got the car working a little bit better. We've got the car trimmed out. We still don't have the straightaway speed. We're still running out of top gear, and we're on the rev limiter, so we're going to make an internal transmission change to put us back in the ballpark for the gears that we're going to use. So, we should hopefully be a little quicker (Saturday)." On Saturday's qualifying "I think that you'll probably see several people sneaking into the 39s. It all just depends on the temperature tomorrow. We've closed the gap a little bit and hopefully, we can do that again tomorrow.

ANDRE RIBEIRO -- "The setup is getting better and I am very happy with the car right now. We have been consistently running at the front and this is a fantastic feeling, especially being here in Brazil. Unfortunately, on our last lap this session, I really didn't have a good opportunity to improve my time because I had to go wide in Turn Two to avoid a slower car. "The times for all the drivers are getting better each session, so we need to try to keep improving for qualifying. It is important to be on the front row, but not so much for this race, because it is a long race, as for the country.

MAURICIO GUGELMIN -- "The car is better than it was yesterday but there's still no grip in the back end. It's so loose you can't put any power down coming through the corners ... it's really pivoting in the turns. We were starting to make some progress in the last half of the session but we lost the engine with ten minutes left."

MARK BLUNDELL -- "We went stiffer on the car during the session and it really seemed to improve our performance. By going stiffer it burns up the tires, generating a lot of heat and significantly improving the grip."

MICHAEL ANDRETTI -- "We had an electronic problem with our boost in the morning session and didn't get much track time. The engine was making a funny, harmonic noise and didn't have any boost. We worked on it a lot in the pits and then decided to switch to the other car for the last 10 minutes. From what I could tell, the track hasn't changed much from yesterday. We hope to sort out the problem by the time the next session starts."

MAURICIO GUGELMIN -- "We're looking better and we've come a long way as far as improving the grip of the car, but the ride is still terrible. We really need to work on that because the car is jumping all over the place. Problems we had with the popoff valve really slowed us down as well this session."

MARK BLUNDELL -- "We made steady progress this afternoon but my two main concerns are still the track and the tires. Of course, there's nothing we can do about the track, we're all on the same playing field there, but we still need to conform our oval tires to a track with road course tendencies."

JUAN MANUEL FANGIO II -- "Our guys did an excellent job, as usual. They got the car back to the race track for the second session (following a first session contact with a wall in Turn Four). We changed the setup of the car and worked around with it during each lap, trying to get a comfortable car. I would say at the very end of the second session, the good feeling in the car was coming back. I feel good physically. I have very little pain in my neck. Tomorrow I may be a little stiff, but it will not be a problem.''

JEFF KROSNOFF - "We've improved with every session. That's all we can look for at this point. We're not in the position to run in the front of the pack. We just have to improve the engine and the chassis. The engine will come at its own pace and what we have to do is make the chassis better than everyone else's. We are going to have to go for some unorthodox changes, and that's what we are doing here. This is an unknown circuit for us, certainly something I've never faced. You have to approach it like two road course, third-gear corners (Turns One and Four) with two straights."

ALEX ZANARDI - "I think we will go faster (Saturday) but we will not be able to (gain) the other second like we did between yesterday and today. Obviously, I'm trying my best, and the car's been going so well."

ANDRE RIBEIRO -- on being the fastest Brazilian for the last two days: "It's fantastic. This pressure is good pressure, because it brings good results. I think the real pressure is for those not doing so well.''

BRYAN HERTA -- on an improvement of eight miles per hour over Thursday's top speed "Primarily, we worked on understeering, we changed the end and that took about 60 percent out. But it made a big improvement. I did a good lap, but the others like Andre and Alex have run more consistent. We want to run more consistent, and this is a step in the right direction.''

MICHAEL ANDRETTI -- "We're headed in the right direction. It was encouraging to stay in the top five during the last session. The car was very good. It was a trouble-free session for us and we got some good track time. This puts us in a better position for practice tomorrow.''

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI -- "We had a crank trigger problem with my race car and I had to get in my backup car. It turned out to be very good and we made some improvements in time. In the last five minutes of the session, we made some changes that helped give me more grip, and I was able to improve my lap time.''

BRIAN LISLES (Engineer for the Kmart/Budweiser Lola Ford) -- "This last session was hard work. The mechanics did a wonderful job getting the spare car ready so quickly during the session. Christian was able to get some clear track toward the end and set a fast time.''

AL SPEYER (Bridgestone/Firestone Motorsports Manager) -- "Our tires are very consistent. We've had several teams run 100-plus miles on one set and showed strength all the way. These Firehawks are the latest generation of our '95 New Hampshire tires - the ones Andre Ribeiro used to take the checkered flag.''

PAUL TRACY -- "We were able to learn a little more today on the set-up and pick up some speed. Unfortunately, we developed a gear box problem at the end of the second session, so the engineers will work on it this evening and hopefully have it fixed by the morning. We had enough time left in the session to get in the back-up car and work with that and we were able to go a little faster by the end of the session. We've got one more session to work with the Marlboro car before qualifying, but our focus is going to be on our race setup."

AL UNSER, Jr. -- "We made some improvements from yesterday and were able to learn more about the setup. We were fighting problems with understeer and grip but made some adjustments which really made my Marlboro car better. We're analyzing our gearbox problem and we will keep working so we have a competitive package for race day."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Andre Ribeiro