CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto: PKV Racing Friday report

TORONTO, Ont. (July 09, 2004) -- Under breezy conditions and overcast Toronto skies, PKV Racing pilots Jimmy Vasser ( ...

TORONTO, Ont. (July 09, 2004) -- Under breezy conditions and overcast Toronto skies, PKV Racing pilots Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Roberto Gonzalez (#21 Nextel Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) placed 10th and 15th, respectively in today's Round 1 qualifying session in preparation for this Sunday's 19th Annual Molson Indy Toronto.

After a strong morning practice session that saw the 1996 Series Champion finish third overall behind Canadian favorites Patrick Carpentier and Paul Tracy, Vasser slipped to 10th on the street course that encompasses the 1.755-mile stretch of testing asphalt and concrete surrounding festive Exhibition Place.

"We're working hard to move the car forward," said Vasser, who turned in a best time of 59.966 seconds (105.360 mph) on his seventh lap. "We're just a tick behind where we should be, up there with the frontrunners. We'll make some changes and hopefully pick up some time in tomorrow's session."

The California native has a career-best finish of third on the tricky Toronto street circuit in 12 appearances, and is scheduled to make his 189th consecutive start this Sunday, pulling him within three starts of fellow Champ Car titlist Al Unser Jr. who holds the record with 192 straight green flags.

Vasser's rookie teammate Gonzalez took his first turns around Exhibition Place, posting a fast time of 1:01.186 (103.259 mph). The Mexican will be making his first start north of the border this Sunday, and is optimistic about his Nextel-sponsored PKV Racing Lola climbing the speed charts.

"I've been struggling with the set up and the balance of the car all day, really," said Gonzalez. "This morning the car seemed a bit too low. We made some changes to adjust for that and the car responded quite well. The only problem is that we picked up about a tenth of a second, while the rest of the field gained more ground. I'm confident we'll get the balance right tomorrow and improve."

Catch Vasser and Gonzalez again tomorrow in their relentless search for speed on the 1.755-mile street circuit in Round 2 Qualifying for this Sunday's Molson Indy Toronto, Round 6 of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Jimmy Vasser , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Roberto Gonzalez