CHAMPCAR/CART: Vancouver Friday PM Qualifying (Group 1) instant story

By Alan Perry - Motorsport.com The Friday AM Practice instant story started with a poorly written, confusing paragraph about whether it was raining. For the first group in the Friday PM qualifying session, there was no confusion at all. No...

By Alan Perry - Motorsport.com

The Friday AM Practice instant story started with a poorly written, confusing paragraph about whether it was raining. For the first group in the Friday PM qualifying session, there was no confusion at all. No rain. Dry track. Actually, despite the forecast of showers, there were frequent sun breaks. OK, enough with the weather. For now.

Who was in the first group? The slower qualifiers from the race at Elkhart Lake. And who were they? Nakano, Papis, Gidley, Vasser, Joudain, Blundell, Barron, Garcia, Carpentier, Marques, Kanaan, Servia and da Matta.

The sole red flag of the session was caused by two incidents that occurred in quick session - Carpentier lost it going in Turn 6 (a traditional favorite for spinning and running off the Vancouver course) and da Matta lost it in Turn 10, repeating what he had done in the morning, at least in location. This time da Matta ended up perpendicular to the flow of traffic and Blundell spun and stalled when he came across him. All of the cars were removed and the session resumed.

The early front runners in the first group, the slower qualifiers from Elkhart Lake, were Papis, Kanaan and Vasser.

Halfway through, the order was Vasser, Carpentier, Kannan, Papis, Servia, Nakano, Gidley, Blundell, da Matta Barron, Garcia and Marques. Lap times ranged from the 1:02s to 1:06s.

Kanaan put in a fast time, then Vasser started putting in fast times and ended up being the first to break into the 1:01s in qualifying. Carpentier tried to put in a fast time, but got held up and then almost swung the back of the car into the wall coming out of 12. He ended his afternoon when he rubbed the wall. Blundell did the same thing later, though not so hard and was able to continue on.

With five minutes to go, the order was Vasser, Kanaan, Carpentier, Papis, Jourdain, da Matta, Servia, Nakano, Blundell, Gidley, Garcia, Marques and Barron with times rangine from 1:01.793 to 105.178.

Those last five minutes saw lots of folks trying, but no one improving. Eventually, Nakano, Servia and Blundell improved. Garcia, Marques improved their lap times, but gained no position. Papis, Marques and da Matta (who eventually did return after his spin) improved with laps that ended on the checkered flag.

The final order for the first group was Vasser, Kanaan, Jourdain, Papis, da Matta, Carpentier, Blundell, Gidley, Servia, Nakano, Marques, Barron and Garcia. The times ranged from 1:01.793 to 104.070.

Of course, this was not the final order for Friday qualifying; the second, "fast" group had yet to run.

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Series IndyCar