CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Kool Green Qualifying Report

FRANCHITTI EARNS FIRST CAREER OVAL POLE POSITION RIO de JANEIRO, Brazil - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti won his first career pole position on an oval and his second pole ever in qualifying for tomorrow's Rio 400 at 12 p.m. EDT. He also ...

FRANCHITTI EARNS FIRST CAREER OVAL POLE POSITION

RIO de JANEIRO, Brazil - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti won his first career pole position on an oval and his second pole ever in qualifying for tomorrow's Rio 400 at 12 p.m. EDT. He also erased Mauricio Gugelmin's track record of 39.03 4 seconds (171.921 mph) with a blistering lap of 39.005 seconds at 172.039 mph.

Franchitti bumped Alex Zanardi from the top position with his exciting run around the 1.864-mile Emerson Fittipaldi Speedway. He will start on the inside front row for the second time in his career, having won the pole as a rookie in Toronto last year. Zanardi's quick lap took only 39.164 seconds at 171.341 mph and he will line-up beside Franchitti. Row two is an all-Brazilian affair with Tony Kanaan qualifying in 39.176 seconds (171.289 mph) and Gil de Ferran starting on the outside with a lap-time of 39.177 seconds (171.284 mph).

Beginning from the ninth position on the grid, Paul Tracy will start his KOOL Reynard-Honda on the inside of Bobby Rahal from the fifth row. Tracy, the defending race champion, turned in the fastest lap of his weekend thus far at 39.477 seconds (169.983 m ph) and is optimistic about tomorrow's race.

To access the live KOOL Racing Leaderboard at www.koolracing.com, type the user id kool.pass and the password rio400 (in lower case). Tomorrow's race will also be shown on ABC-TV via tape delay at 3:30 p.m. EDT.

Dario Franchitti, #27 Team KOOL Green Reynard/Honda/Firestone:

"It wasn't a perfect lap, but I'll take it just the same. The Team KOOL Green guys prepared a great car and gave me the chance to show what we can do. Don Halliday, my engineer, went to Paul (Tracy) after his run and asked him about the track conditions. Paul said it wasn't as bad as it looked, so Don decided to not make any changes to the car. Tomorrow is what it's all about -- finishing up front -- and I think we can do it. The track is very good for passing, but it's going to be a difficult because the circuit is very slippery."

Paul Tracy, #26 Team KOOL Green Reynard/Honda/Firestone:

"I was a little uncomfortable going out not knowing what the track conditions would be like -- probably because of the spin yesterday and the fact that there were a couple of spins already in qualifying. We put a little more wing in the car, but I was a little bit tentative and didn't get the most out of the car. I didn't really attack until the last turn of the last lap to see how it would hold and we made up 4/10ths of a second from my first lap to the second."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Bobby Rahal , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Alex Zanardi , Tony Kanaan , Mauricio Gugelmin , Emerson Fittipaldi