VANCOUVER, B.C. (September 1, 2000) - Dario Franchitti of Team KOOL Green put himself in prime position to claim his second consecutive FedEx Championship Series pole position Friday when he earned the provisional pole for the Molson Indy...
VANCOUVER, B.C. (September 1, 2000) - Dario Franchitti of Team KOOL Green put himself in prime position to claim his second consecutive FedEx Championship Series pole position Friday when he earned the provisional pole for the Molson Indy Vancouver at Concord Pacific Place (4 p.m. ET Sunday, live, ABC-TV).
Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard), whose first pole of the season came two weeks ago at Road America, recorded a lap of 104.993 miles per hour (1 minute, 1.067 seconds) to take the provisional top spot on the starting grid for Sunday's 15th round of the championship. A final round of qualifying is scheduled for 4:45 p.m. ET Saturday.
Franchitti will be seeking his 10th career pole position, and his second at Vancouver, on Saturday afternoon. He earned the pole at Vancouver in 1998, and subsequently drove to one of his two career victories from the pole.
Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard) of Marlboro Team Penske qualified second at 104.712 mph (1:01.231). He is seeking his 12th top five start in 15 events this season, and his seventh on the front row, including the past three in succession.
Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) gave Team KOOL Green two of the top three provisional starting positions by qualifying third at 104.294 mph (1:01.476). He is chasing a season-best start on a road or street course, exceeding seventh at Road America, where he scored his second win of the season two weeks ago.
Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard) of Marlboro Team Penske qualified fourth at 103.889 mph (1:01.710) followed by Jimmy Vasser (Target Toyota Lola) of Target Chip Ganassi Racing, who was fifth at 103.776 mph (1:01.783). Castroneves is chasing his seventh top-five start of the season, all of which have come in the past 11 events, while Vasser will be looking to match or exceed his season-best start of second at Long Beach.
FedEx Championship Series points leader Michael Andretti (Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford Lola) qualified eighth at 103.540 mph (1:01.924). He holds a 125-112 lead over Roberto Moreno (Visteon Ford Reynard) of Patrick Racing entering Saturday's final round of qualifying.
Moreno qualified seventh Friday at 103.670 mph (1:01.846) while defending Molson Indy Vancouver champion Juan Montoya (Target Toyota Lola) qualified 11th at 103.433 mph (1:01.988). The top 12 qualifiers were covered by less than one second on the 1.781-mile temporary street circuit.
DARIO FRANCHITTI, KOOL Honda Reynard: "The car was great right off the truck. I didn't run a lot of laps this morning. I spent most of the session standing on the pit wall with Paul [Tracy], waiting for the conditions to improve, and we didn't want to use up our tires. We got our car sorted out in practice, and had a good car for qualifying as well. We're going to improve the car some more for tomorrow, but as far as I'm concerned, it can rain tomorrow. That would be great."
GIL de FERRAN, Marlboro Honda Reynard: "We started this morning with a couple of problems, but once we got those sorted out, the car was running pretty well. Qualifying went pretty well. I didn't get a really good lap on the first set [of tires] because I was caught behind Adrian [Fernandez], but I got a good lap in on the second set. It's pretty good, but we're going to have to improve a little bit if we want to pass my friend [Franchitti] here. It's important to try to win for us, but it's important to get to the end of the race and score points from now until the end of the season."
PAUL TRACY, Marlboro Honda Reynard: "I think the car was quite good in the morning. I didn't run much because of the weather. It was slippery, and we wanted to save the tires. Qualifying went quite well. I was held up a little bit by [Kenny] Brack when he brushed the wall right in front of me. Honda has really worked hard. They've made a big difference in straightaway speed since the beginning of the season. Like everybody, you can count the points you left on the table. Last year when I came here, I was third in points, but I was kind of out of reach for the championship behind Dario and Juan [Montoya]. Hopefully, we can pick up a win or two in the remaining races. I'm pretty strong on most of the tracks coming up, so I'm really looking forward to the next six races."
Dario Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) will be seeking his eighth top-five start in the past 10 events during final qualifying Saturday afternoon. The run includes a pole at Road America, outside poles at Milwaukee and Detroit and starts of third at Mid-Ohio, fourth at Portland and Michigan and fifth at Toronto.
Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard) is seeking to extend an outstanding season-long run which has seen him qualify among the top five drivers for 12 of the season's first four events. The run includes poles at Homestead, Long Beach and Mid-Ohio; outside poles at Portland, Cleveland and Road America; fourth-place starts at Milwaukee and Detroit and fifth-place efforts at Japan, Nazareth and Michigan.
Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) seeks his third top-three start of the campaign, following a pole position at Michigan and a third-place start at Rio de Janeiro. His best previous start on a temporary street circuit this season was 12th at Toronto.
The top four provisional qualifiers - Franchitti, de Ferran, Tracy and Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard) - were all Honda-powered. Honda has won the past four poles at Vancouver, with Alex Zanardi (1996, '97), Dario Franchitti (1998) and Juan Montoya (1999) doing the honors.
Qualifying for the Molson Indy Vancouver will air 1:30 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2.