PACWEST STRUGGLE IN RIO 200 QUALIFYING (Rio, Brazil) â€“ PacWest drivers Mauricio Gugelmin and Mark Blundell will start 21st and 23rd respectively in tomorrowâ€™s Rio 200 at the Emerson Fittipaldi Speedway in Rio, Brazil. Both drivers ...
PACWEST STRUGGLE IN RIO 200 QUALIFYING
(Rio, Brazil) – PacWest drivers Mauricio Gugelmin and Mark Blundell will start 21st and 23rd respectively in tomorrow’s Rio 200 at the Emerson Fittipaldi Speedway in Rio, Brazil.
Both drivers struggled with car set-up in this afternoon’s qualifying session for the fourth round of the FedEx Championship Series and have a tough grind ahead of them in tomorrow’s 108-lap race.
The #17 Nextel PacWest Mercedes-Benz of Gugelmin was faster in qualifying than the morning practice, but the Brazilian native was far from producing the result, which gave him pole in front of a home crowd back in 1997. The #18 Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz of Blundell clocked a time of 39.542s in the morning practice session, but was 0.532s slower in qualifying.
Alexandre Tagliani will start from pole after recording a lap of 38.587 seconds and he was followed by Juan Montoya (38.696s) and Paul Tracy (38.843s).
The Rio 200 will be televised live tomorrow at 12:30pmET on ESPN.
MAURICIO GUGELMIN - # 17 NEXTEL PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ
Morning Practice Session: 39.827s -- 23rd; Afternoon Qualifying: 39.682s -- 21st
"No good. Basically the car had the same balance as it has had all weekend and it is no good," said Gugelmin.
"I had a big push in the middle of the corners and a big oversteer on each end and I am struggling to get rid of that.
"I couldn't get the car to flow. I can't go hard into the corners because I cannot keep the momentum. At this track it is all about how quickly you can get back on the gas to maintain straight-line speed.
"We just have to keep working at it and try to make our way through the field tomorrow.
"With a bit of luck and some quick work from the Nextel team in the pits I am sure we can finish in the points."
MARK BLUNDELL - # 18 MOTOROLA PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ
Morning Practice Session: 39.542s -- 16th; Afternoon Qualifying: 40.073s -- 23rd
"We went half a second faster this morning on old tires and everything was completely wrong in qualifying," said Bundell.
"I believe I am committed in the car, but we just can't get it right - I cannot tell you how frustrating this is.
"It is a long day tomorrow and we will be relying on our Mercedes-Benz engine to keep us going until the checkered. Engine reliability is one thing we have on our side, we just need to find a few more things to go with it."