CHAMPCAR/CART: Vancouver Friday practice report

By Alan Perry - Motorsport.com The first day of practice for the twelfth running of the Molson Indy Vancouver was not particularly exciting, unless you happened to be Canadian. Alex Tagiani (a Canadian driver), driving for the Player's (a ...

By Alan Perry - Motorsport.com

The first day of practice for the twelfth running of the Molson Indy Vancouver was not particularly exciting, unless you happened to be Canadian. Alex Tagiani (a Canadian driver), driving for the Player's (a Canadian cigarette brand)/Forsythe team, was the fastest driver around the streets of Vancouver (a Canadian city) at the end of the day and he did it in the last few seconds of the afternoon session. Well, maybe those last few laps were exciting.

The race is held on a temporary street circuit in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, around the north and east sides of False Creek. The official course length is 1.781 miles and the scheduled race length is 100 laps. The weather throughout the day was overcast with occasionally sun breaks, standard Pacific Northwest weather, with temperatures in the 70s with a light breeze. Friday attendance was up from last year, with 43,917 people officially showing up to view the events.

In a change from last season, only practice sessions are held on Friday. These days, the only qualifying session is on Saturday afternoon. The first practice starts at 9:30am and runs for 105 minutes. The second practice starts at 1:45pm and runs for 75 minutes. Typically, all of the drivers improve their times in the afternoon session and there was only one exception on Friday.

As noted previously, Tagliani put in the fastest time of the day with a 61.230 sec, averaging 104.713 mph. Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran finished the day with the second and fourth best times. They were split by Patrick Racing driver Roberto Moreno. The top 10 drivers put it at least one lap under 62 seconds. However, Dario Franchitti's record time of 60.405 seconds from last year remains.

What did the drivers think about the practice session today? Castroneves thought that the conditions were constantly changing, so he just worked on getting comfortable and consistent. de Ferran complained about traffic, as did Jourdain and Gugelmin. Servio agreed with all of them, complaining of changing conditions and traffic. Tracy, Andretti and Carpentier didn't like the handling of their cars.

At Mo Nunn Racing, Tony Kanaan, who took top time in the morning session in his primary car, but couldn't get either car to work well in the afternoon. Similarly, despite being near the top of the time sheet at the beginning of the day, Alex Zanardi finished his day at the other end of the sheet. The team is still having problems figuring out what is wrong with the cars.

Bryan Herta, driving for Forsythe, has not started his weekend well, "We lost an engine and had a couple problems this morning. We're still struggling to get caught up. Can't really get the car handling right." When asked about if the problems can be fixed, he responded, "I hope so. I hope so."

On Saturday, there will be another practice session in the morning and qualifying in the afternoon.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Roberto Moreno , Alex Zanardi , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Mo Nunn , Alex T Jones
Teams Team Penske