CHAMPCAR/CART: Rio Honda Motorsports Qualifying Report and Quotes

<pre> Honda Racing Report Saturday, April 29, 2000 Rio 200 Qualifying Report Circuit: Emerson Fittipaldi Speedway (1.8-mile oval) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 1999 Pole: Christian Fittipaldi (Ford Cosworth) 173.615 mph 1999 Winner:...

<pre> Honda Racing Report Saturday, April 29, 2000 Rio 200 Qualifying Report

Circuit:        Emerson Fittipaldi Speedway (1.8-mile oval) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
1999 Pole:      Christian Fittipaldi (Ford Cosworth) 173.615 mph
1999 Winner:    Juan Montoya (Honda) 125.120 mph race average
Weather:        Clear, warm, 88-degrees F

Starting Grid: Ps. Driver Manufacturer Time Speed 1. Alex Tagliani Ford Cosworth 38.587 sec. 173.903 mph 2. Juan Montoya Toyota 38.696 sec. 173.413 mph 3. Paul Tracy Honda 38.843 sec. 173.757 mph 4. Kenny Brack Ford Cosworth 38.876 sec. 172.610 mph 5. Christian Fittipaldi Ford Cosworth 38.879 sec. 172.597 mph 6. Jimmy Vasser Toyota 38.943 sec. 172.313 mph 7. Helio Castro-Neves Honda 38.985 sec. 172.128 mph 8. Dario Franchitti Honda 39.026 sec. 171.947 mph 9. Tony Kanaan Mercedes-Benz 39.101 sec 171.617 mph 10. Max Papis Ford Cosworth 39.227 sec. 171.066 mph 11. Memo Gidley Ford Cosworth 39.246 sec. 170.983 mph 12. Roberto Moreno Ford Cosworth 39.265 sec. 170.900 mph 13. Gil de Ferran Honda 39.298 sec. 170.757 mph 20. Bryan Herta Honda 39.620 sec. 169.369 mph

</pre> Tracy Starts Third in Rio

Paul Tracy, currently leading the CART driver's championship after winning the Long Beach Grand Prix two weeks ago, led the Honda-powered effort in qualifying today for Sunday's Rio 200. The Canadian will start third in his Team KOOL Green Honda Reynard, his best qualifying effort of the season to date.

In addition to Tracy, Helio Castro-Neves and Dario Franchitti also posted top-10 qualifying runs today. Running in his home country, Castro-Neves has posted competitive times all weekend while - like his teammate Tracy - Franchitti's 8th place run today wa s his best this year.

Driving the second Marlboro Team Penske Honda, Gil de Ferran was disappointed to qualify on the seventh row of the 25-car starting field. Bryan Herta, still substituting for the injured Shinji Nakano with Walker Racing, also lost a little speed from times posted in practice to qualify 20th.

Tomorrow's 108-lap CART FedEx Championship Series race will start at 1:30 p.m. local time, with television coverage on ESPN.

PAUL TRACY (#26 Team KOOL Green Honda) Qualified 3rd: "I got a little loose on my second lap and that cost me some time [his first lap was his quickest]. But the car is good, it's been quick all weekend. It handles well, and we're making good fuel milea ge. I feel good about our chances tomorrow. We'll just go out and do our thing, try and get as many [championship] points as possible. It's a good feeling to be starting up front. There's a big draft with the wings we use here. The corner speeds are s lower, but the draft is much better. So I think that will make for better passing and I'm pretty enthused heading into the race."

HELIO CASTRO-NEVES (#3 Marlboro Team Penske Honda) Qualified 7th: "I just tried a little harder in turn four and had a little wiggle. We made a wing change just before qualifying and the car had a little bit of oversteer as a result -- which is okay jus t for qualifying. Maybe, if I'd have waited a little longer, turned in later, it would have been better. But the important day is tomorrow, and seventh is a reasonable starting spot."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (#27 Team KOOL Green Honda) Qualified 8th: "We didn't change anything on the car. I really think my biggest problem up to now has been a lack of seat time [after being injured in a Spring Training crash]. I feel like I'm only just now g etting back into my rhythm. We're still struggling a little bit in communicating with the engineers, (Tino Belli and Steve Challis) but it's getting better. It's just a matter of getting to know each other better and understand each other."

GIL de FERRAN (#2 Marlboro Team Penske Honda) Qualified 13th: "The car was pretty good yesterday, but we struggled a little bit this morning. We made another change for qualifying, and the car was definitely better, but I don't think I got everything out of the car during my run."

BRYAN HERTA (#5 Avex Group/Walker Racing Honda) Qualified 20th: "The car felt good, so I'm a little disappointed with my qualifying run. It was slower than we practiced this morning. We put more downforce in the car, thinking it would be hotter today, b ut I think maybe we went too far and it cost us some top end. We'll have to go back tonight and look at the data and see what we can find out."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Jimmy Vasser , Memo Gidley , Max Papis , Roberto Moreno , Alex Tagliani , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Shinji Nakano , Kenny Brack , Emerson Fittipaldi
Teams Team Penske