Motorsport News International Toronto Canada July 18 1998 Franchitti takes the morning session from Fittipaldi and Rahal The Saturday morning practice at the Molson Indy started under sunny skies, but cool weather prevailed, with air ...
Motorsport News International Toronto Canada July 18 1998
Franchitti takes the morning session from Fittipaldi and Rahal
The Saturday morning practice at the Molson Indy started under sunny skies, but cool weather prevailed, with air temperatures hovering around 20C/68F.
The session started with a lot of traffic on track, but little drama, with most cars unable to match the Friday mroning times. The early leader in the session was Dario Franchitti, the young Scot setting a time of 1:00.210 in the first ten minutes of the session.
By the halfway point of the 75-minute session, Christian Fittipaldi (59.554), Bryan Herta and Michael Andretti had all managed to get under the one minute mark.
With just under 30 minutes to go in the session, Gil de Ferran joined the one minute club, setting the second-best time of 59.779.
JJ Lehto had been struggling through the first two thirds of the session, and after 13 laps on track, was still languishing in last place with a lap time of over 1:03. At the 50 minute mark, he finally put together a reasonable lap, with the time of 1:01.740 moving him to 23rd. He would further trim this to 1:00.746 in the dying minutes of the session, finishing in 17th place.
Five minutes later, Ribeiro coasts to a stop on the track near turn 2. The Penske-Mercedes was subsequently diagnosed as having a case of terminal gearbox failure. The red flag came out for the second time in the session, and the tow truck rapidly retrieved the car back to the pits.
As the green flag returned and the session resumed, a flurry of cars jumped onto the track immediately, including all the session leaders. Once the traffic subsides, Greg Moore succeeds on his hot lap, setting the second-best time of the session at 59.711 -- the first front-runner to better his Friday qualifying time.
In the frantic final minutes of practice, Bobby Rahal surprises by moving past Greg Moore with a time of 59.434, 0.115 behind Fittipaldi. Moments later, the early leader, Dario Franchitti, comes back out with a new set of tires. With a quaick, clean lap, he shows that his provisional second row position is no fluke; the time of 59.300 is enough to take the lead in in the session.
Paul Tracy and Bryan Herta also manage sub-one minute laps in the dying minutes, with 59.784 and 59.708. The final top ten for the session were Franchitti, Fittipaldi, Rahal, Andretti, Herta, Moore, Gil de Ferran, Tracy, Jimmy Vasser and Alex Zanardi -- all but Zanardi bettering the one minute mark.
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