CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto PPI Motorsports Friday qualifying report

TORONTO -- It was a very wet day in Toronto! The predicted showers let loose at the Canadian National Exhibition Place around 1:00 p.m. Friday. Torrential rains hit the paddock, with heavy wind, lightening and thunder. The rain caused a red flag...

TORONTO -- It was a very wet day in Toronto! The predicted showers let loose at the Canadian National Exhibition Place around 1:00 p.m. Friday. Torrential rains hit the paddock, with heavy wind, lightening and thunder. The rain caused a red flag for the Toyota Atlantic qualifying session but let up just enough to start the first group of Champ Car qualifying at 2:30. Showers plagued the first session and Christian Fittipaldi set the fastest time at 1:07.693.

Luckily, PPI Motorsports drivers Cristiano da Matta and Oriol Servia were both in the second session for Friday’s qualifying. As the session started, the skies cleared, and the track was dry enough for slick tires halfway through. Both da Matta and Servia immediately topped the first group’s times but fought troubles of their own, as da Matta found himself in the run-off and Servia grazed the wall. Servia’s light contact caused an 11-minute pit stop, which gave him just enough time to re-enter the track on slicks and set a time fast enough for seventh. Da Matta struggled a bit with the car, and provisionally qualified 10th. Both drivers will remain in the fast group for Saturday’s final qualifying. Keep your fingers crossed for clear skies!

Da Matta set his provisional time of 61.340 seconds (103.000 mph) in his #97 Pioneer Electronics/MCI WorldCom Toyota/Reynard after turning a fast lap of 60.103 seconds (105.120 mph) in the morning practice session.

“It is hard to tell how we are really doing because these times don’t reflect what the times would and could be if it wasn’t raining," da Matta said. "I was not completely happy with the car this morning, and I know even with the rain this afternoon we were still having some of the same problems. I think the time will be much faster tomorrow afternoon, as long as it is dry. I am a little disappointed, because I thought we would be quicker than this out of the box. We will just have to work on it tonight, and we will be better tomorrow.”

Servia was 13th in the morning with a time of 60.014 seconds (105.275 mph) and moved up to seventh during qualifying in his #96 Telefonica Toyota/Reynard with a 60.133-second (105.067 mph) lap.

“The car was good, but I screwed up on the last lap. It was a good run, but I knew I could’ve been better," Servia said. "The track was changing so much every lap; it was hard to find a good line. The line would change from lap to lap. Some spots were wet, some spots were dry, so it was hard to be consistent. But in all I am happy. I know we have a good car, and hopefully the weather will be good to really get a good lap tomorrow.”

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Christian Fittipaldi , Oriol Servia , Cristiano da Matta