CHAMPCAR/CART: Vancouver Mercedes Saturday Qualifying Report

Moore and Mercedes-Benz Line Up Fourth Rookie Castro-Neves Among Top 10 British Columbia's best will lead the Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Team in tomorrow's Molson Indy Vancouver. Hometown favorite Greg Moore qualified the Player's/Indeck ...

Moore and Mercedes-Benz Line Up Fourth Rookie Castro-Neves Among Top 10

British Columbia's best will lead the Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Team in tomorrow's Molson Indy Vancouver. Hometown favorite Greg Moore qualified the Player's/Indeck Reynard/Mercedes fourth this afternoon, lapping the 1.802-mile street circuit--which he helped design--less than half a second off the pole-winning pace of Dario Franchitti.

Joining Moore in the top 10 was rookie Helio Castro-Neves. The Team Alumax driver posted his best-ever road/street course qualifying performance and will start ninth.

Defending race champion Mauricio Gugelmin qualified the Hollywood Reynard/Mercedes 13th, citing serious problems with understeer. His PacWest Racing teammate Mark Blundell suffered a similar fate and will start the Motorola entry 18th.

Hogan Racing rookie JJ Lehto qualified 16th but was only four-tenths of a second off of the second row of the grid. Canadian Patrick Carpentier will start the second Player's/Forsythe Racing entry 17th.

Sunday's 90-lap, 162.18-mile race will start at 1 p.m. local time and will be televised on ESPN starting at 5 p.m. EDT.

Mercedes Quotes

Greg Moore, No. 99, Player's/Indeck Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone: Fourth - 64.620 sec.

"I'm pleased. Of course I wanted to be first. But this is the best we've ever started here, and I'm really looking forward to the race tomorrow. We improved our car a lot, picked up more than a second, and we've got a really good race car. We can run really consistent lap times over long runs. I think we've got a good shot to win tomorrow."

Helio Castro-Neves, No. 16 Alumax Reynard/Mercedes/Goodyear: Ninth - 64.699 sec.

"I don't know why Scott Pruett didn't get out of the way on that last lap. Maybe he didn't see me or something, but he did his lap. He should get out of the line and let me by. That's how everybody does it. Still, I'm pretty happy. We lost some time this morning when we ran out of fuel, so we couldn't find out how fast the car was. So during my flying lap this afternoon, I was trying really hard to improve my time, and we were able to do that. I'm very happy with the car."

Mauricio Gugelmin, No. 17 Hollywood Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone: 13th - 64.893 sec.

"Push, push, push. I hate a car that understeers. It feels like I'm driving my mama's stationwagon. I feel like a passenger. We're just going to have to keep working on the front end of the car and hope we can make it better for the race. Tomorrow, everybody's going to have to be careful. We'll try to have a solid start and pick up places where we can."

JJ Lehto, No. 9 Hogan Racing Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone: 16th - 65.024 sec.

"I'm really disappointed with my performance today. We just haven't been able to find anything all weekend. At the start of the weekend, we had a good car when the track was dirty and green, but now we're just fighting understeer. I mean, we're in the middle of the pack, which is a good sign. But if we found four-tenths of a second, we'd be fourth on the grid. We're definitely going to have to try something completely different tomorrow."

Patrick Carpentier, No. 33, Player's/Indeck Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone: 17th - 65.045 sec.

"That was much better, a big improvement over yesterday. We had some problems and switched the electronic boxes, and today was the first time we were able to really see how good the new Mercedes engine calibration was; it's wonderful. A 1:05 (second-lap) is not the best for here today, but at least we're in the ballpark, not four seconds off the pace."

Mark Blundell, No. 18 Motorola Reynard/Mercedes/Firestone: 18th - 65.080 sec.

"It was a big disappointment basically. We just didn't find the next level of grip. It's tough to assess why. Obviously, we're not doing something right. We definitely don't want to be 18th for the whole of this race, so we're going to have to make some moves. It's going to be tough."

Andre Ribeiro, No. 3, Marlboro Penske/Mercedes/Goodyear: 19th - 65.158 sec.

"The bumps are really hurting my leg (which was broken at Road America). I'm having to ice it in between session. But we've improved our times by around a second or more each session, so we'll just hope for the best tomorrow."

Al Unser Jr., No. 2 Marlboro Penske/Mercedes/Goodyear: 22nd - 65.440 sec.

"Practice and qualifying haven't been what we hoped for. We tried a number of setups to deal with the new track configuration and just haven't been able to get any consistency. We've always raced well here, so we'll just keep digging and working on the Marlboro Penske/Mercedes and hope for a good day tomorrow."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Patrick Carpentier , Dario Franchitti , Mauricio Gugelmin , Scott Pruett , Mark Blundell , Andre Ribeiro , Greg Moore , JJ Lehto