CHAMPCAR/CART: Toyota Cleveland qualifying notes

Mauricio Gugelmin (Nextel Toyota) earned his fourth career pole position and his first since the season finale at Fontana in 1997 with a lap of more than 132 mph today in qualifying for Sunday's Marconi Grand Prix. He ran in the first of two ...

Mauricio Gugelmin (Nextel Toyota) earned his fourth career pole position and his first since the season finale at Fontana in 1997 with a lap of more than 132 mph today in qualifying for Sunday's Marconi Grand Prix. He ran in the first of two qualifying groups and was aided by rain during the second session. Gugelmin's fast time was lower than last year's pole time. All three previous poles came in 1997.

Today's pole position by Mauricio Gugelmin is his first with Toyota power and Toyota's second pole position of the season. It's Toyota's 10th pole position in Champ Car competition since the final race of the 1999 season. With the point for the pole position, Toyota closes its deficit to one point for the Manufacturer's Championship.

Memo Gidley (Target Toyota) and Tora Takagi (Pioneer Toyota) each earned a career-best in qualifying today. Gidley, in just his second race for the Target Ganassi team, will start fifth, while Takagi will start eighth.

Cristiano da Matta's run of bad luck continued today in qualifying. Da Matta (Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota) was the fastest in each of yesterday's practice sessions with his eye on his first career pole only to see the rain roll in and banish him to 19th for tomorrow's race. In his last four events, da Matta had been taken out of two races on the first lap when getting caught up in other drivers' spins; lost a front-row qualifying spot in Detroit when the red flag came out with da Matta less than 30 yards from start/finish; and ran into the back of Max Papis in wet conditions while running second at Portland, dropping him to an eventual 10th.

Mauricio Gugelmin, #17 Nextel Toyota: "Our main focus was simply to put down a very good, clean lap to make us competitive with the fast group. I'm very pleased with how the car ran. We had a good set-up here last year and now with the Toyota engine we have a better package. We made a lot of changes, but now we're starting to become very consistent (Gugelmin was running fifth last weekend when he was caught up in Paul Tracy's spin). We put a very good clean lap together that was more than a half second quicker than anyone had run in practice all weekend. So I knew the other group would be sweating a little. It might not have won the pole, but it would have been up there."

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Toyota Drivers Cleveland Qualifying 1. Mauricio Gugelmin 5. Memo Gidley 8. Tora Takagi 15. Christian Fittipaldi 16. Bruno Junqueira 18. Scott Dixon 19. Cristiano da Matta 24. Jimmy Vasser 25. Roberto Moreno

-TRD

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Memo Gidley , Bruno Junqueira , Max Papis , Roberto Moreno , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Scott Dixon , Mauricio Gugelmin , Tora Takagi , Cristiano da Matta