CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Bridgestone Saturday report

Da Matta finds seventh heaven in Paradise with 7th pole position of season. Cristiano da Matta hasn't let the fact that he's already clinched the season championship diminish his yearning to go fast. He proved it again today by driving to a ...

Da Matta finds seventh heaven in Paradise with 7th pole position of season.

Cristiano da Matta hasn't let the fact that he's already clinched the season championship diminish his yearning to go fast. He proved it again today by driving to a Surfers Paradise track record and his seventh pole position of the 2002 season.

Da Matta improved his top lap time by more than two seconds from provisional to final qualifying. Driving the Havoline Toyota/Lola on Bridgestone Potenza tires, he barreled around the temporary street course in 1 minute 30.204 seconds (111.547 mph) today to eclipse the qualifying record set a day earlier by Bruno Junqueira. In all, 11 of the 18 drivers today bettered the previous track standard.

"Yesterday I wasn't very happy with the car," da Matta said. "We were quite a bit behind Bruno, six-tenths of a second. We made quite a few changes to the car. Now we are right about the same time, so it's good that with all the experience the team has together, we were able to work on the areas of the car that needed it, and the car really responded. The Bridgestone tires are very good this weekend, no problems. Our car was very good this morning on old tires, but we were a little concerned with the balance on new tires (before qualifying). We seem to be getting it right now and should be fine in the race tomorrow."

All 18 cars in the Honda Indy 300 starting grid are equipped by Bridgestone, which entered competition this season and serves as the Official Tire of CART.

Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone Motorsport: "The Bridgestone tires are certainly making an impressive debut in Australia. For 11 drivers to go faster than the old track record shows they all have the confidence to lean hard on the tires, knowing fully well that the Potenzas would respond consistently every time. Tire performance has been exceptional thus far this weekend and we expect that to continue in Sunday's race. We're looking forward to another thrilling contest in paradise."

Qualifying temperatures ranged from 107 to 116 degrees track and 84 to 86 degrees ambient (F).
Qualifying temperatures ranged from 42 to 47 degrees track and 29 to 30 degrees ambient (C).

-bridgestone-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Cristiano da Matta