Da Matta back on form in Vancouver; Lola carries top seven qualifiers. On a mild, 75-degree summer day at Vancouver's Concord Pacific Place, Cristiano da Matta banished thoughts that his stay at the top of the CART timing charts was over. The ...
Da Matta back on form in Vancouver; Lola carries top seven qualifiers.
On a mild, 75-degree summer day at Vancouver's Concord Pacific Place, Cristiano da Matta banished thoughts that his stay at the top of the CART timing charts was over. The #6 Chevron Lola/Toyota driver earned his fifth straight road course pole position, lapping the 1.781-mile street circuit at 60.339 seconds (106.260mph) for a new track record, besting Dario Franchitti's 2000 mark by .066 seconds. Friday's provisional polesitter, Paul Tracy set the second quickest time of the day in the #26 Team KOOL Green Lola/Honda, his mark of 60.502 seconds (105.973mph) just .163 seconds shy of da Matta's record. Franchitti earned third starting spot, touring the 10-turn track at 60.559 seconds (105.874mph) in his #27 Team KOOL Green Lola/Honda.
CART's point leader, da Matta had a difficult Friday, unable to set up his car properly as fuel pressure problems limited his track time. This morning his difficulties were over, as da Matta practiced second to Tracy. "We went out early [in qualifying] to get a clear track, something we couldn't do yesterday," da Matta explained. "We figured our only chance to get a proper run was early in the session. We got a decent lap" on his fifth of 14 total. "How everything was bad yesterday, it was smooth today." He had to wait 25 minutes to find out whether he'd get pole position.
Tracy was the final driver on the track in a session that saw action nearly from start to finish. "The car felt very good right away," after changes to his Lola. "I had a clear track and it was up to me, but I tried too hard to beat Cristiano and lost time. I didn't get the best out of this very good car or myself," he admitted. Franchitti applauded the "good job" his team did to prepare for this race after Toronto troubles. "I'm very happy with the balance today. I feel I've got a good car for the race. We've got good balance on used tires," the Scot said.
Scott Dixon starts fourth in the #44 Target Lola/Toyota, turning a lap of 60.650 seconds (105.715mph). "We've had a good car all weekend long," the Kiwi mused. Michael Andretti's lap of 60.749sec/105.542mph earned the #39 Motorola Lola/Honda driver fifth place on the 18-car grid, "happy with where we ended up." Tony Kanaan starts sixth in the #10 Pioneer/WorldCom Lola/Honda with a lap of 60.763sec/105.518mph, "We got it right and I've got to say this is the best I've felt in a while." Christian Fittipaldi has seventh grid position in the #11 Lilly Lola/Toyota after lapping at 60.779sec/105.490mph. Thirteen drivers qualified within one second of da Matta.
Sunday's 13th annual Molson Indy Vancouver kicks off at 1:30pm PDT. Speed Channel has live coverage of the 100-lap race.