TORONTO, Ontario, Canada (July 14, 2001) - Gil de Ferran of Marlboro Team Penske earned his first FedEx Championship Series pole position since the 2000 season finale Saturday when he captured the pole for Sunday's Molson Indy before a crowd of ...
TORONTO, Ontario, Canada (July 14, 2001) - Gil de Ferran of Marlboro Team Penske earned his first FedEx Championship Series pole position since the 2000 season finale Saturday when he captured the pole for Sunday's Molson Indy before a crowd of 51,479 at Exhibition Place (1 p.m. ET, live, ESPN).
De Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard) averaged 109.492 miles per hour (57.703 seconds) on his quickest trip around the 1.755-mile temporary street circuit to lead an all-Team Penske front row for Sunday's 10th round of the championship. It is de Ferran's first pole since the 2000 season finale at California Speedway, where he established a world closed-course speed record of 241.428 miles per hour.
De Ferran earned a championship point for the pole and continues in fourth place in FedEx Championship Series with 57 points. Kenny Brack (Shell Ford Lola) of Team Rahal is the championship leader with 84 points.
Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard) of Marlboro Team Penske, who stands second in the championship with 70 points, will start alongside de Ferran after qualifying second at 109.370 mph (57.767 seconds). He makes his fifth front-row start of the season, following poles at Long Beach, Japan and Detroit and an outside pole at Milwaukee.
Brack was third fastest at 109.146 mph (57.886 seconds). The start will be his best since a pole at Milwaukee and his best on a road or street course since an outside pole at Long Beach.
Tony Kanaan (Hollywood Honda Reynard) of Mo Nunn Racing qualified fourth at 109.076 mph (57.923 seconds), followed by Alex Tagliani (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard) of Player's/Forsythe Racing, who will start fifth after qualifying at 108.937 mph (57.997 seconds).
Defending and six-time Molson Indy winner Michael Andretti (Motorola Honda Reynard) of Team Motorola qualified 13th-fastest at 108.445 mph (58.260 seconds). The top 21 of the 26 qualifiers for Sunday's event were separated by less than one second.
GIL de FERRAN, Marlboro Honda Reynard: "Certainly, qualifying was very good for us. Unlike Kenny, it's been a very smooth weekend for us. I haven't had many troubles at all, and it's been easy for me to get into a rhythm. The fact that we ran one-two speaks for the preparation of the whole team. As far as tomorrow, the key is to make few mistakes. That's tough to do on this type of racetrack, but I'm going to try to get a good result and hopefully break my unlucky streak here in Toronto."
HELIO CASTRONEVES, Marlboro Honda Reynard: "Yesterday, I had a little trouble and didn't run the last session, and this morning I struggled a bit. We relied a lot on Gil's setup. This shows the effort Marlboro Team Penske puts in. I'm a little disappointed that I didn't have the pole, but you can't have everything. Maybe I can have the win tomorrow. I'm sure [team owner] Roger [Penske] is going to talk to us and make sure that we make the first corner and the last corner. This morning, the car was undriveable and I was a little concerned for qualifying. I'm not so disappointed with the result because it was a guess, but it was a good guess. It's my teammate's day."
KENNY BRACK, Shell Ford Lola: "I had all sorts of problems yesterday and today. Yesterday, we had technical problems and this morning I hit the wall. We'll take third, but we're a little disappointed to have two Penskes in front of us. We'll see what we can do in the race tomorrow. We tried some different things and we managed to get some good things in the car. We've got to be happy with all the stuff we went through this weekend. We saw something this morning that we had potentially some speed in the car. We sort of threw stuff at it, and we threw enough at it to get it."
* Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard) earned his 12th career pole position Saturday and his eighth on a temporary street circuit. His previous street-course poles have come at Cleveland in 1995, Long Beach in '96, '97 and 2000; Detroit in '97; Toronto in '99 and Houston last year. De Ferran established the track record of 110.565 miles per hour (57.143 seconds) while winning the pole at Toronto in 1999.
* Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard) earned his second consecutive front-row start at Toronto after winning the pole last year at an average speed of 110.455mph (57.200 seconds).
* Kenny Brack (Shell Ford Lola) recorded his sixth top-three qualifying performance of the season. Included are poles Mexico, Texas and Milwaukee and outside poles at Long Beach and Nazareth.
* Tony Kanaan (Hollywood Honda Reynard) qualified for his best start since fourth at Japan. His season-best start, as well as his season-best on a road or street course, is third at Long Beach.
* Alex Tagliani (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard) of Player's/Forsythe Racing qualified fifth for his best qualifying effort since third at Road America last year. It is a career-best start on a road or street course.
* Friday night marked the debut of the RPM (Racing Powered Music) band - featuring CART drivers Kenny Brack of Team Rahal and Patrick Carpentier (Player's/Indeck Ford Reynard) of Player's Forsythe Racing - during an invitation-only party at Wayne Gretzky's restaurant in Toronto. Brack plays guitar and Carpentier drums in the band, which also includes lead vocalist Elizabeth Fornal, CART Marketing Coordinator, and bassist Laz Denes. RPM played a ½-hour set for a crowd of more than 1,500 guests at the party, and were joined on stage for the finale, Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode," by Howie D. (Dorough) of The Backstreet Boys.
CART 2Day airs 11 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2, while ESPN's live race broadcast begins 1 p.m. ET. Twenty of 21 FedEx Championship Series events are being televised live on ABC-TV or ESPN, and 18 are being televised live on Eurosport, a European network that reaches 250 million viewers in 54 countries. Sunday's race will also air on the CART Radio Network and on CART's official website, at www.cart.com .