CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto: Mo Nunn Racing Friday report

Tony Kanaan and the ...

Tony Kanaan and the #10 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Lola are 10th on the provisional starting grid for Sunday's Molson Indy Toronto CART FedEx Championship Series event at Exhibition Place. Kanaan recorded a fast qualifying lap of 59.379 seconds (106.401 mph) on the 1.755-mile temporary street course on opening day here today. Kanaan, who is sporting a special helmet design this weekend featuring his own, trademark blue-and-orange swirls on the left half, and the familiary red, white and blue scheme worn by two-time series champion and last year's teammate Alex Zanardi on the right half, was fourth in this morning's opening practice session. Zanardi is making his first appearance at a CART race this weekend since suffering devastating leg injuries in an accident during the latter stages of last September's American Memorial at Lausitz, Germany.

Cristiano da Matta, who's going for his fourth consecutive race win this weekend, is on the provisional pole after a fast qualifying lap of 58.487 seconds (108.024 mph). Bruno Junqueira is second at 58.724 seconds (107.588 mph), followed by local favorite Paul Tracy at 58.953 seconds (107.170 mph).

Practice continues Saturday morning with final qualifying set for 1:45 p.m. EDT. Speed Channel will carry tomorrow's final qualifying session beginning at 1:30 p.m. EDT. Race time Sunday is 1:30 p.m. EDT and it will be broadcast live by CBS-TV.

TONY KANAAN

"We seem to have fallen into this pattern of starting off well, making some changes, and then going a little bit backward. It's frustrating, and I'm not happy at all about it, but that's the price we're having to pay for having so little experience with our new (Lola) chassis. Every weekend, we go away having learned something, for sure. But this has been the ultimate test of patience. That's hard to do, sometimes, when you're fighting so hard to get back into the championship race. But we're moving forward overall, even if we are taking a step or two backward every once in a while. I had some good laps in practice this morning, and some good laps in the beginning of the qualifying session, even though our car was not that great. So we have to build on the good laps and hope to have a better day tomorrow. Aside from that, in the bigger picture of things, it's so nice to have Alex back. He's brightened up the entire paddock. I had my special helmet made for this weekend with his design on the right side. Somehow, we managed to keep it a total secret from him until right before the qualifying session. He was speechless when he saw it. And for anybody who knows Alex, it's not that often that he is speechless. I hope by him being here it will bring us a little bit of luck. We can use it! At least he's having the time of his life, seeing everybody again for the very first time since his accident."

-mnr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Paul Tracy , Alex Zanardi , Tony Kanaan , Cristiano da Matta , Mo Nunn