CHAMPCAR/CART: Rio GP Saturday Track Notes

FedEx Championship Series Press Notes-Saturday, May 15, 1999 Good Morning from partially sunny Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for Race Day! Round Five of the FedEx Championship Series, the GP Telemar Rio 200, takes the Green Flag today at 1 p.m. The...

FedEx Championship Series Press Notes-Saturday, May 15, 1999

Good Morning from partially sunny Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for Race Day! Round Five of the FedEx Championship Series, the GP Telemar Rio 200, takes the Green Flag today at 1 p.m. The threatening rain clouds again loom over the Turn Two wall as the sun rises here at Emerson Fittipaldi Speedway at Nelson Piquet International Raceway, but the track drying activities performed by the Brazilian track workers and CART Safety Team have rendered a race-able track for this morning's 9 a.m. warm-up. Brazilian ace CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI will lead the field of 27 cars to the Green Flag by virtue of his record-breaking track-qualifying lap of 174.002 mph (38.565 seconds) in yesterday's action.

At 8:55 a.m., CART Race Control announces that the 9 a.m. scheduled start for the morning warm-up will be slightly delayed to allow for additional drying efforts on the track

GREEN FLAG waves at 9:10 a.m. to start the final practice session of the weekend.

At 9:20 a.m., 10 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #99 MOORE with a lap of 168.578 mph (39.806 seconds), followed by #44 KANAAN (167.229 mph; 40.127 seconds) and #11 FITTIPALDI (166.809 mph; 40.228 seconds).

YELLOW FLAG waves at 9:23 a.m. after #71 GARCIA Jr. spins exiting Turn 4. GARCIA Jr. makes no contact and continues to his pit area.

GREEN FLAG waves at 9:25 a.m. to resume the practice session.

BLACK FLAG is shown to #10 HEARN at 9:27 a.m. for a Pit Road speed violation. HEARN subsequently pits his car for a drive-thru penalty to comply with the Black Flag.

At 9:30 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #4X MONTOYA with a lap of 169.143 mph (39.673 seconds), followed by #99 MOORE (168.578 mph; 39.806 seconds) and #26X TRACY (168.459 mph; 39.834 seconds).

At 9:35 a.m., 25 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #33 CARPENTIER with a lap of 169.720 mph (39.538 seconds), followed by #26X TRACY (169.669 mph; 39.550 seconds) and #99 MOORE (169.369 mph; 39.620 seconds).

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 9:40 a.m. to end the final practice session of the weekend with #99 MOORE the fastest driver with a speed of 171.934 mph (39.029 seconds), followed by #4X MONTOYA (170.713 mph; 39.308 seconds) and #26X TRACY (170.133 mph; 39.442 seconds). Pole-sitter #11 FITTIPALDI winds up ninth-fastest with a speed of 169.339 mph (39.627 seconds). FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 27 different cars to the track in this morning's session with secondary cars utilized by #4X MONTOYA, #26X TRACY, #12X VASSER, #18X MORENO, #6X ANDRETTI, and #16X SALLES. CART drivers logged a total of 409 laps in this morning's session.

Today's FedEx Championship Series race will have a unique format for the traditional race-start command "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!" Commander Victor Afanasiev and fellow cosmonaut Sergei Avdeev of the orbiting Russian outpost Mir will give the stirring command from approximately 200 miles over the home planet of the GP Telemar 200. The connection between the longest orbiting manned mission in history and the FedEx Championship Series? Omega Timing, the official Timekeeper of the fastest racing series in the world is also the official watch for the fastest human-occupied machine in the world. Of course, speed competition exists in space as well. With a 10-minute window opening at 9:32 a.m. on May 20th, Space Shuttle Discovery will launch from Kennedy Space Center, Florida on a trip to the International Space Station. The Omega connection again? All NASA Astronauts rely on the Omega X-33 Multifunction Chronometer!

CART Vice President of Competition J. KIRK RUSSELL and CART Chief Steward WALLY DALLENBACH have announced that pursuant to Rule 6.21.3 and 6.22.3 of the 1999 CART Rule Book, Abandonment of Procedures, if a yellow condition occurs during the last 10 laps of the race, the pit lane will be closed until CART Officials feel that the field has properly packed up behind the Pace Car. At that time, the Pit Lane will be opened to all competitors that choose to pit. The green "P" sign will be displayed at Pit Entrance to indicate that the pits are open. The field will not be reorganized for the restart.

At 12 p.m., a light drizzle from the south begins to fall on the track. After a few minutes, the track is again completely soaked. Brazilian track crews and the CART Safety Team again start the tedious job of drying the track out.

By 1 p.m., J. KIRK RUSSELL, CART Vice-President of Competition and CART Chief Steward WALLY DALLENBACH announce that the start of the race will be delayed until track drying efforts render a safe racing surface. It is also announced that the signal to grid cars will be given with 30 minutes to go until the Green Flag.

By 2 p.m., furious track drying efforts are having successful results and Mr. Russell gives the "30-minutes until Green Flag" command. The FedEx Championship Series Teams immediately begin pushing the 27 machines to the grid.

At 2:26 p.m., the command "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!" is given by Mir Space Station Commander Victor Afanasiev and fellow cosmonaut Sergei Avdeev.

Source: CART.com

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Nelson Piquet , Emerson Fittipaldi