CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto: Lola Cars Saturday qualifying report

Lola sweeps Toronto top ten; da Matta dominates CART qqalifying once again. For the second time in a week, Cristiano da Matta funneled both CART qualifying ducats into his personal point fund, taking pole position for the 17th annual Molson ...

Lola sweeps Toronto top ten; da Matta dominates CART qqalifying once again.

For the second time in a week, Cristiano da Matta funneled both CART qualifying ducats into his personal point fund, taking pole position for the 17th annual Molson Indy Toronto, held on the city's Exhibition Place 1.755-mile street circuit. Driving the #6 Havoline Lola/Toyota campaigned by Newman/Haas Racing, the Brazilian ace bested Canadian favorite Paul Tracy's #26 Team KOOL Green Lola/Honda by .037 seconds, logging a lap of 58.135 seconds (108.678mph) over Tracy's 58.172 seconds (108.609mph). Bruno Junqueira was third in the #4 Target Lola/Toyota with a lap of 58.256 seconds (108.452mph). Fourteen of 18 entrants qualified within a second.

"On both runs today I had no traffic," da Matta explained. "Our objective, of course, is to keep it up. It's very easy to be confident right now. We have a well-set-up Lola, our Toyota engines and Bridgestone tires have been perfect." Tracy agreed that da Matta "is the best right now. Cristiano responds every time someone raises the bar. But I'm really proud of our team; we haven't run long with this car and we're trying to compete with Newman/Haas and Team Target, who have great experience with this Lola chassis. It's tough to bridge that gap in only three races," the Scarborough native noted.

"We had to re-map the engine after the crash (in morning practice) and, with 17 minutes to go I went out and had no power." With only five minutes remaining, he tried to improve. "That last lap wasn't my best but I pushed with everything I could. Yesterday I wasn't happy with second place, but today I'm happy with third," Junqueira admitted.

Kenny Brack logged the fourth-best qualifying lap in his #12 Team Target Lola/Toyota, emerging in that slot with just over a minute to go in the hour-long session at 58.334sec/108.307mph. Christian Fittipaldi earned 5th in the #11 Lilly Lola/Toyota with a lap of 58.477sec/108.042mph, while Dario Franchitti took 6th on the grid with his #27 Team KOOL Green Lola/Honda. Shinji Nakano was 7th for Fernandez Racing in the #52 Alpine/Mitsuba Lola/Honda after running 2nd in morning practice; he was unable to get a clear lap in time trials. Jimmy Vasser was "on the wrong side of one tenth [of a second]" in the #8 Shell Lola/Ford for 8th, while Scott Dixon took ninth in the #44 Target Lola/Toyota. Tony Kanaan starts the #10 Pioneer/WorldCom Lola/Honda in 10th on the grid after being fastest in morning practice.

Sunday's 112-lap Molson Indy Toronto street fight starts at 1:30pm EDT and will be shown live on CBS Sports in the US and by Global TV in Canada.

-lola-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Shinji Nakano , Kenny Brack , Cristiano da Matta