TORONTO, Ontario, Canada (July 13, 2001) - Gil de Ferran of Marlboro Team Penske, the defending FedEx Championship Series champion, turned in the top time Friday during testing for the Molson Indy at Exhibition Place (1 p.m. ET Friday, live, ...
TORONTO, Ontario, Canada (July 13, 2001) - Gil de Ferran of Marlboro Team Penske, the defending FedEx Championship Series champion, turned in the top time Friday during testing for the Molson Indy at Exhibition Place (1 p.m. ET Friday, live, ESPN).
De Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard) put together a lap of 108.185 miles per hour (58.4 seconds) on the 1.755-mile temporary street circuit to set the pace during testing for Friday's 10th round of the FedEx Championship Series. A 75-minute morning practice is scheduled for 10:15 a.m. ET Saturday, with qualifying scheduled to begin 1:45 p.m. ET.
De Ferran will be seeking his second pole position at Toronto and the 12th of his career when qualifying begins Saturday. He established the track record of 110.565 miles per hour (57.143 seconds) while winning the pole at Toronto in 1999.
Christian Fittipaldi (Kmart Toyota Lola) of Newman/Haas Racing was second-fastest Friday at 107.750 mph (58.636 seconds). He will be chasing his second career pole and his first on a road or street course when qualifying begins Saturday.
Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) of Team KOOL Green was third fastest at 107.711 mph (58.657 seconds). Franchitti is a two-time pole winner at Toronto (1997, '98) and drove victory from the outside pole in 1999.
Rounding out the top five were Tony Kanaan (Hollywood Honda Reynard) of Mo Nunn Racing, fourth at 107.493 mph (58.776 seconds) and defending Molson Indy champion Michael Andretti (Motorola Honda Reynard) of Team Motorola, fifth at 107.330 mph (58.865 seconds).
The top 18 of 40 cars, including secondary cars, were covered by less than one second.
GIL de FERRAN, Marlboro Honda Reynard: "The day was pretty good today. The car was handling really good since we unloaded the truck. At the end of the first session, I managed to hit the wall and damage the front wing, which wasn't too clever, but we got the wing fixed and I got back out there this afternoon. Certainly, it's going to be very exciting in qualifying tomorrow. I kind of like street circuits in general. It's very challenging to try to go especially fast. Really, ever since last year we developed a general street circuit setup, and it's working very good here in Toronto so far."
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, KmartToyota Lola: "I feel pretty good. I have to admit, I had a pretty trouble-free and easy day. We just ran old tires this morning, so I didn't go real fast, but the car had a good balance. This afternoon we put on new tires and did a fast lap. I'm pretty confident. I think we have a pretty good setup for tomorrow. In Toronto, it's definitely very important to start up there. If you're starting in the top four or top six, you have a nice shot at winning the race."
DARIO FRANCHITTI, KOOL Honda Reynard: "The car's fine. We damaged a toe-link on the front, but it's no big deal. I think Memo didn't see me. It's no big deal; it should be fixed in the morning. The car was good on old tires and we're very positive. The track's pretty slippery right now, but it's going to be exciting tomorrow. I'm pretty relaxed. The Cleveland race is definitely in the history books. It was nice to get a win, but now we're trying to win this race. I'm pretty happy. I'm going to try to score some serious points, and if I can, I'm going to try to win."
* Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard) will be seeking his 12th FedEx Championship Series career pole position and his second at Toronto when qualifying begins Saturday afternoon. His most recent pole came in the 2000 season finale at California Speedway, where de Ferran established a world closed-course speed record of 241.428 miles per hour (30.255 seconds). Of de Ferran's 11 career pole positions, seven have come on temporary street circuits, including the 1999 pole at Toronto.
* Christian Fittipaldi (Kmart Toyota Lola) is seeking his second career pole and the first of his seven-year FedEx Championship Series career on a road or street course. His previous best road course start is third at Portland in 1997; his previous best street course start is third at Australia in 1998.
* Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) will seek his 11th career pole and his first since last year at Vancouver during qualifying Saturday. Of his 10 career poles, six have come on temporary street circuits, including two at Toronto, in 1997 and '98.
Qualifying for the Molson Indy will air 5 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2.