CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Lola Friday report

Junqueira sets new record in 1st qualifying session. Leads Lola 10-car train in dominating Surfers Paradise time trials. CART's 12th visit to Queensland in Australia began with a new lap record in provisional qualifying, set by Bruno Junqueira...

Junqueira sets new record in 1st qualifying session.
Leads Lola 10-car train in dominating Surfers Paradise time trials.

CART's 12th visit to Queensland in Australia began with a new lap record in provisional qualifying, set by Bruno Junqueira in Team Target's #4 Lola/Toyota, topping Dario Franchitti's 1999 mark with a tour of 1 minute 31.515 seconds (109.949mph). Junqueira is guaranteed a front row start in Sunday's Honda Indy 300, round 17 of the 19-race tour. Paul Tracy's quick lap of the 2.795-mile Surfers Paradise street course early in the 35- minute session earned him second, his #26 Team KOOL Green Lola/Honda lapping at 1 minute 31.575 seconds (109.877mph). Scott Dixon in the #44 Team Target Lola/Toyota took third with a lap of 1 minute 32.143 seconds (109.200mph), the Brisbane-born driver continuing his street circuit mastery.

Unlike his peers, Junqueira said he "didn't use the curbs on my best lap. My car was so good today." 2002 CART champion Cristiano da Matta, in the renumbered #1 Caltex/Havoline Lola/Toyota recovered from a late start and off-course excursion at turn #3 to take 4th place at 1 minute 32.162 seconds (109.177mph). Miami polesitter Tony Kanaan was fifth in the #10 Pioneer/WorldCom Lola/Honda at 1 minute 32.162 seconds (109.053mph). "We couldn't get anything going with the red flags today," Kanaan said. Adrian Fernandez, one of six former winners in the 18-car field was sixth for the day with a lap of 1 minute 32.301 seconds (109.013mph) in the #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Lola/Honda.

Team Rahal's Michel Jourdain Jr. (#9 Gigante Lola/Ford) and Jimmy Vasser (#8 Shell Lola/Ford) took 7th and 8th on the provisional grid, Vasser despite causing the first red flag with an incident at the first turn and losing his first lap at the time. Vasser was the final driver to qualify within one second of Junqueira. Michael Andretti earned 9th place in the #39 Team Motorola Lola/Honda while Shinji Nakano rounded out the all-Lola top ten in the #52 Alpine/Mitsuba Lola/Honda.

Conditions similar to Friday's typical late spring Australian day, with clear skies and air temperatures in the 77-81 degree range (with track temps ranging from 115-188 degrees) are expected for final qualifying on Saturday. Speed Channel is airing final qualifying live at 11:30pm EDT.

-lola cars-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Adrian Fernandez , Paul Tracy , Scott Dixon , Shinji Nakano , Cristiano da Matta , Michel Jourdain