CHAMPCAR/CART: Vancouver Friday Qualifying report

By Alan Perry - Motorsport.com What's Green and Red and White? The provisional front two rows of the Molson Indy Vancouver. The provisional front two rows of the Molson Indy Vancouver are occupied by Dario Franchitti (Team Green) with Gil de...

By Alan Perry - Motorsport.com

What's Green and Red and White?
The provisional front two rows of the Molson Indy Vancouver.

The provisional front two rows of the Molson Indy Vancouver are occupied by Dario Franchitti (Team Green) with Gil de Ferran (Team Penske) next to him, followed by Paul Tracy (Green) with Helio Castroneves (Penske) next to him. Both Franchitti and Tracy thought their cars were good out of the box, while de Ferran needed to work on his car a bit, before he could get the most out of it.

While it didn't rain during either qualifying session, the weather did play a role in that rain before the sessions made sure that there was little rubber on the road and kept the pavement cool. de Ferran complained that the cool track and relatively hard tire rubber made it seem like he was driving on ice. Castroneves agreed, "We need to improve the overall grip and maximize our tires a little bit better."

Current points leader Michael Andretti finished the day eighth. He thinks he might have qualified higher, if it were not for a message from his team. "We were on a quicker lap that would have put us fourth but I backed off because the team told me that I wouldn't make it to the checkered flag in time. Unfortunately we would have made it but that's how it goes."

Andretti's team mate Christian Fittipaldi ended the day sixth. "The car is just OK. In general it doesn't feel bad but it is no where as quick as Dario and Gil."

Defending 1999 Molson Indy Vancouver winner Juan Montoya did not have a very good day qualifying, finishing eleventh, even though he ran well in practice. "Although this afternoon is not exactly where we want to be, I still think we have a pretty good car and a good set up."

Montoya's team mate Jimmy Vasser qualified fifth. "I think we have a really good race car ... I definitely think that we can still get more out of the car."

Some drivers were new to the track and their performance reflected this. Kenny Brack qualified nineteenth. "The car is better than it shows. It is just me now. I need to learn this place quickly." Similarly, Shinji Nakano, who qualfied twenty-second, noted, "I spent most of the day learning the track."

This race also marked the return of Alex Barron driving for Dale Coyne's Racing. Unfortunately, he only qualified twenty-fourth.

In the random numbers department, two drivers qualified using the spare car (Fittipaldi and Moreno) and the Friday attendance at the race was 42,684, down very slightly from last year.

Final qualifying starts tomorrow (September 2) at 1:45 PM PDT.

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Series IndyCar
Teams Team Penske