CHAMPCAR/CART: Vancouver: Bridgestone Vancouver qualifying report

Confidence in Bridgestone helps da Matta set track record. Cristiano da Matta recovered from a bad day at the office Friday to break the track qualifying record at Vancouver this afternoon. Driving the Chevron Toyota/Lola on Bridgestone tires ...

Confidence in Bridgestone helps da Matta set track record.

Cristiano da Matta recovered from a bad day at the office Friday to break the track qualifying record at Vancouver this afternoon. Driving the Chevron Toyota/Lola on Bridgestone tires fielded by Newman/Haas Racing, da Matta ran a best lap of 1 minute, 0.339 seconds (106.260 mph) around the temporary street course at Concord Pacific Place. It eclipsed by 0.666 of a second the standard set in 2000 by Dario Franchitti.

Fuel pressure problems restricted da Matta's track time Friday, when he qualified 16th provisionally. The season points leader was among the first drivers on the track in today's final qualifying session and logged the pole-winning lap on the fifth lap of his first stint. It is the fifth pole in the past seven races for da Matta. Provisional pole sitter Paul Tracy, in the Team Kool Green Honda/Lola/Bridgestone, was second quickest today (1:00.502, 105.973 mph) and will start alongside da Matta on the front row.

"We decided it was more important to get some good grip and go out and put in a couple clear laps early, than to wait and maybe get the best out of the racetrack but possibly get stuck behind someone," da Matta said. "It worked out so I'm very happy. This track is a little strange, it changes a lot. Yesterday, the tires were very peak and then seemed to drop off. Today (with more rubber on the circuit), they were more equal like a normal street course; much more consistent. This morning I put a race stint distance on a set of the Bridgestone tires and they held up very well."

All 18 cars in the Vancouver starting grid are equipped with Bridgestone Potenza racing radials. Bridgestone, the Official Tire of CART, joined the FedEx Championship Series this season.

Joe Barbieri, Project Supervisor, Bridgestone Motorsport: "It was quite impressive to see Cristiano and his Newman/Haas crew rebound today, to not only capture the pole but do it in record-setting fashion. What made the feat more impressive was the fact Cristiano went out and ran his best lap early in the qualifying session, when the track is supposedly not at its best. Cristiano was confident the grip from the Bridgestone tires would be more than sufficient for him to run early and run fast, and that confidence was well-placed and rewarded. The tire performance has been excellent again this weekend in general and we expect another exciting Vancouver race tomorrow."

Qualifying session temperatures ranged from 96 to 105 degrees track and from 73 to 75 degrees ambient (F); Qualifying session temperatures ranged from 36 to 41 degrees track and from 23 to 24 degrees ambient (C).

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Dario Franchitti , Cristiano da Matta