CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Rocketsports Racing Friday report

ROCKETSPORTS IN THE TOP TEN DURING FIRST RUN IN SURFERS PARADISE SURFERS PARADISE, Australia (October 20, 2006) -- A good start to the Rocketsports Racing weekend Down Under as the team provisionally qualifies Mario Dominguez and Antonio...


SURFERS PARADISE, Australia (October 20, 2006) -- A good start to the Rocketsports Racing weekend Down Under as the team provisionally qualifies Mario Dominguez and Antonio Pizzonia in the ninth and tenth spots, respectively.

It was not a challenging start for Dominguez as it was for his teammate Pizzonia this morning. Dominguez is attempting to make his fifth start at the Australia venue this weekend and has the experience and a race win during his rookie year in 2002 under his belt, which helped him as he began preparations for this weekend's Lexmark Indy 300. Pizzonia, who will be making his third start with the team on Sunday, is new to the 2.795-mile temporary street course and took the time today to learn the course finding a good line and understanding exactly what the #18 Lexington Energy Services/Rocketsports car needs to be competitive.

Dominguez began to experience a mechanical issue on the #8 Pemex/GICSA/Del Valle car this afternoon during the pre-qualifying practice session. He was able to get in one good run, before the issue really became a problem for the team, which saw him post his quickest time in provisional qualifying of 1:33.267 (107.884 mph, 173.622 kmh) on his fourth lap out. Despite the Rocketsports team's effort to repair the car, they ran out of time this afternoon to send him back out there for his second stint. The time he recorded placed him ninth on the Champ Car timing and scoring charts, not bad considering the team's misfortune.

Pizzonia continued to work on learning the course in the afternoon, but did post a competitive time of 1:33.736 (107.344 mph, 172,752 kmh) on his sixth orbit. That time put him in the top ten, just behind his teammate in tenth spot for the final results of provisional qualifying. Pizzonia was the third quickest rookie this afternoon out of a total of eight drivers running for the first time at this venue.

So a positive showing today for the team in its first day at the Australia track, with the anticipation that tomorrow's results will be even better. Both cars will have two sets of the Bridgestone Potenza Red Tires for tomorrow, as the team only ran on Black tires this afternoon. So with that in favor, times should improve along with the opportunity of more track time in the morning, as long as the weather cooperates.

The team will head back out for a practice session at 10:00 a.m. local time, before final qualifying takes place tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 p.m. Highlights from qualifying can be seen on Sunday, October 22 in the United States at 3:00 p.m. EST on SPEED Channel. To follow Rocketsports all weekend, check out the team's website at or log onto and sign up for Race Director.

Quotes Mario Dominguez #8 Pemex/GICSA/Del Valle/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "We had a big mechanical issue that really became a problem during my first stint in provisional qualifying this afternoon; therefore I could not go back out for another run. However, we have been making positive improvements every time I go out on track, so things are looking good. Despite our problems, we were still able to finish ninth, which is not a bad result for the first day here in Australia. I was hoping for a better result, and I feel we could have done it, but that gives us hope for tomorrow during the final round of qualifying. I look forward to getting back out there to hopefully get a good position on the grid for myself, the team, our sponsors Pemex, GICSA, Del Valle, and my personal sponsors Telmex and Bridgestone for the race on Sunday."

Antonio Pizzonia #18 Lexington Energy Services/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "Well it is another new track for me, so I did a lot of learning today. I feel that there is definitely more to come from me and the #18 Lexington Energy Services car, but overall I am happy with our accomplishment today. We are definitely moving in the right direction, we keep improving the car each time that I go out. If we keep improving we should have a good starting spot on the grid for Sunday's event, which will be good for the team and our new sponsor Lexington Energy Services. I am really having a good time, this is a great track and I can't wait to get back out there tomorrow to continue learning and find ways to run even faster times.

-credit: rocketsports racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Antonio Pizzonia , Mario Dominguez