CHAMPCAR/CART: Vancouver Saturday track notes

Good Morning from Vancouver, B.C., for the final day of qualifying for Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver! Saturday's weather has again started with heavy cloud cover, very cool temperatures, and little or no breeze. Some showers are possible in...

Good Morning from Vancouver, B.C., for the final day of qualifying for Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver! Saturday's weather has again started with heavy cloud cover, very cool temperatures, and little or no breeze. Some showers are possible in the morning hours, giving way to the partly cloudy skies the crowds enjoyed in Friday's Provisional Qualifying sessions. Track temperatures should be cooler than Friday's, the only other variable being if and when the showers douse the track. DARIO FRANCHITTI sits on the Provisional Pole after circling the 1.781-mile temporary street course with a speed of 104.081 mph (168.934 kph), a mere .426 seconds off the track record. First up in the CART on-track activities Saturday is the 75-minute practice session starting at 10 a.m., followed by the final round of qualifying at 1:45 p.m.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10 a.m. to start the morning practice session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 59 degrees F. (15 C.) and an ambient temperature of 57 degrees F. ( 14 degrees C.) at the start of the session.

RED FLAG waves at 10:02 a.m. after #25 GARCIA JR. spins at Turn 7 and stalls the car in the middle of the groove. CART safety workers are unable to get the car restarted and they tow it back to the Pit Area.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:06 a.m. to resume the session.

RED FLAG waves at 10:08 a.m. after #20 MORENO spins at Turn 1 and stalls in the middle of the track. CART safety workers push the car back into Pit Road to the waiting crew.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:10 to resume the session.

At 10:10 a.m., 10 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is #97 DA MATTA with a lap of 100.704 mph (1:03.668), followed by #27 FRANCHITTI (100.250 mph; 1:03.956) and #26 TRACY (99.686 mph; 1:04.318).

At 10:15 a.m., CART course observers report side-to-side contact between #7 PAPIS and #97 DA MATTA as the drivers navigate Turn 7. Both cars continues without apparent damage to either car.

At 10:18 a.m., CART course observers report contact between #6 ANDRETTI and #40 FERNANDEZ. ANDRETTI immediately pits with some damage to the right front wing while FERNANDEZ's car escapes damage.

At 10:20 a.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is now #1 MONTOYA with a lap of 104.096 mph (1:01.593), followed by #2 DE FERRAN (103.016 mph; 1:02.239) and #97 DA MATTA (102.892 mph; 1:02.314).

At 10:28 a.m., #97 DA MATTA logs the fastest lap of the session with a speed of 104.601 mph on his 15th circuit. The course record may be in jeopardy later Saturday as DA MATTA's lap is more than .520 mph faster than the fastest lap of Friday morning's practice session

At 10:29 a.m., #18 BLUNDELL slides into the run-off at Turn 6 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

At 10:30 a.m., 30 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #97 DA MATTA with his earlier lap of the session with a speed of 104.601 mph (1:01.296), followed by #1 MONTOYA (104.096 mph; 1:01.593) and #55 KANAAN (103.521 mph; 1:01.935).

At 10:40 a.m., 40 minutes into the session, the fastest driver is still #97 DA MATTA with his earlier lap of 104.601 mph (1:01.296), followed now by #27 FRANCHITTI (104.558 mph; 1:01.321) and #3 CASTRONEVES (104.250 mph; 1:01.502).

At 10:41 a.m., #5 NAKANO slides into the run-off at Turn 1 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

RED FLAG waves at 10:45 a.m. after #7 PAPIS slides nose-first into the run-off at Turn 1. The driver is uninjured in the incident, but the car sustains damage to the left front suspension, wing and nose assembly. PAPIS' crew readies the secondary car for use in the remainder of the session.

At 10:50 a.m., 50 minutes into the session and under the Red Flag, the fastest drivers and speeds are unchanged from the 10:40 a.m. report.

GREEN FLAG waves at 10:52 a.m. to resume the session.

At 10:57 a.m., #55 KANAAN slides into the run-off at Turn 4 but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

At 11 a.m., one hour into the session, the fastest driver is now #27 FRANCHITTI, after logging a lap of 104.720 mph (1:01.226) on his 24th lap, followed by #97 DA MATTA (104.679 mph; 1:01.250) and #3 CASTRONEVES (104.252 mph; 1:01:501).

RED FLAG waves at 11:03 a.m. after #19 BARRON slides nose-first into the tire barrier at Turn 12. The driver is uninjured and the car only sustains a cracked left front wing. CART safety workers pull the car from the tire barrier and get the engine restarted. BARRON circles the track to his Pit Box, parking the car for the remainder of the session.

GREEN FLAG waves at 11:07 a.m. to resume the session. #40 FERNANDEZ and #97 DA MATTA will not return to the racetrack as both drivers have delay-of-session carryover penalties from Friday's morning session, and may not compete in the last eight minutes of Saturday's session.

At 11:10 a.m., 70 minutes into the session, the fastest drivers and speeds remain unchanged from the 11 a.m. report.

RED and CHECKERED FLAGS wave at 11:13 a.m. after #32 CARPENTIER spins at Turn 10A and stalls the car in the middle of the track. At the same time, #12 VASSER spins at Turn 7, making contact against the tire barrier with the rear of the car. VASSER is uninjured in the incident, but the car has the rear wing snapped off in the incident. CART safety workers get CARPENTIER's car restarted and CARPENTIER continues to his Pit. VASSER's car is towed in by other CART safety crews. CART Race Control determines that there will not be enough time to clean up the incidents before the scheduled end of the session and therefore, the session is Checkered. Both drivers will have the standard eight-minute delay-of-session penalties assessed against them in the Friday morning session next week at Laguna Seca.

The Saturday morning session ends with DARIO FRANCHITTI leading his second straight practice session with his earlier lap of 104.720 mph (1:01.226; 168.495 kph), followed by #97 DA MATTA (104.679 mph; 1:01.250; 168.429 kph) and #3 CASTRONEVES (104.252 mph; 1:01.501; 168.327 kph). The evidence of the field becoming more competitive is illuminated by the fact that the top 13 cars are separated by less than one second in lap times, compared to the top seven in Friday's session, despite the fact that the top six drivers bettered the best lap of Friday morning. Also, only 26 different cars took to the track in Saturday morning's session compared to 33 cars Friday morning, as the drivers have basically decided on the car to use for the remainder of the weekend. Secondary cars were only utilized by #7X PAPIS, #20X MORENO, and #11X FITTIPALDI. CART drivers logged 761 laps in Saturday morning's session.

Saturday final qualifying At the scheduled start of the final round of qualifying, a thick cloud cover has enveloped the downtown area, but no rain is yet reported on the track. Temperatures have warmed somewhat from Saturday morning, however, and blue skies are again showing far to the west.

GREEN FLAG waves at 1:45 p.m. to start the Group One qualifying session. Firestone engineers report a track temperature of 70 degrees F. (21 degrees C.) and an ambient temperature of 66 degrees F. (19 degrees C.) at the start of the Group One session.

At 1:50 p.m., #34 MARQUES slides into the run-off at Turn 1 but continues on-course without apparent damage to the car.

RED FLAG waves at 1:51 p.m. after #32 CARPENTIER dramatically slows entering Turn 5 and stalls on the following straight with smoke appearing at the rear of the car. CARPENTIER's crew readies the secondary car for use in the remainder of the session while CART safety crews tow the car back to the paddock. The driver jogs on his own back to his Pit. However, CARPENTIER will have to serve the standard eight-minute delay-of-session penalty before the driver can return to the track in the #32X.

At 1:55 p.m., 10 minutes into the session and under the Red Flag, the fastest Group One driver is #7 PAPIS with a lap of 103.031 mph (1:02.230), followed by #97 DA MATTA (103.019 mph; 1:02.237) and #32 CARPENTIER (102.841 mph; 1:02.345).

GREEN FLAG waves at 1:58 p.m. to resume the Group One qualifying session.

At 2:04 p.m., #96 SERVIA slides into the run-off at Turn 1 but keeps the engine running and returns to the course without apparent damage to the car.

At 2:05 p.m., 20 minutes into the Group One session, the fastest driver is now #97 DA MATTA with a lap of 103.691 mph (1:01.834), followed by #7 PAPIS (103.516 mph; 1:01.938) and #40 FERNANDEZ (103.480 mph; 1:01.960).

At 2:06 p.m., the penalty assessed to #32 CARPENTIER expires and the driver returns to the course in the #32X.

At 2:11 p.m., #97 DA MATTA stalls at the Turn 10 run-off and the driver exits the car, apparently done for the session.

At 2:14 p.m., #32X CARPENTIER makes contact against the Turn 3 wall while exiting the corner and breaks the right rear wheel. CARPENTIER pulls to the edge of the raceway and limps around the course back to his Pit. At the same time, #7 PAPIS breaks traction exiting Turn 7, slides to the outside of the track and makes flush contact against the wall, then spins to the bottom of the track, stalling the car.

RED and CHECKERED FLAGS fly at 2:15 p.m. to end the session with #97 DA MATTA the fastest Group One driver with a lap of 104.235 mph (1:01.511; fourth overall), followed by #7 PAPIS (104.076 mph; 1:01.605; fifth overall) and #96 SERVIA (103.800 mph; 1:01.769; seventh overall).

GREEN FLAG waves at 2:30 p.m. to start the Group Two session.

RED FLAG waves at 2:33 p.m. after #16 JOURDAIN JR. stalls between Turns 6 and 7. CART safety crews move the car to safety outside Turn 7. JOURDAIN JR. will receive the standard eight-minute delay-of-session penalty starting at the resumption of the Group Two session.

GREEN FLAG waves at 2:36 p.m. to resume the Group Two session.

At 2:40 p.m., 10 minutes into the session, the fastest Group Two driver is #27 FRANCHITTI with a lap of 104.856 mph (1:01.147; still first by virtue of his Friday time), followed by #1 MONTOYA (104.703 mph; 1:01.236; third overall).

At 2:43 p.m., #26 TRACY clocks the fastest lap of the weekend with a lap of 105.457 mph (1:00.798) on his sixth lap and temporarily takes the Pole.

At 2:44 p.m., the penalty assessed to #16 JOURDAIN JR. expires.

At 2:50 p.m., 20 minutes into the session, the fastest group One driver is now #26 TRACY with a lap of 105.457 mph (1:00.798), followed by #27 FRANCHITTI (105.026 mph; 1:01.048) and #1 MONTOYA (104.669 mph; 1:01.256).

At 2:51 p.m., #27 FRANCHITTI breaks the track qualifying record at Vancouver with a lap of 106.036 mph (1:00.4660 on his 12th lap of the session, temporarily taking the Pole.

At 2:54 p.m., #27 FRANCHITTI ups his record-breaking time with a lap of 106.144 mph (1:00.405) on his 16th circuit.

RED FLAG waves at 2:55 p.m. after #11X FITTIPALDI stalls past Turn 4. The driver exits the car as CART safety crews back the car up to a safe spot to await the end of the session. FITTIPALDI was sixth at the time with a speed of 104.425 mph (1:01.399). FRANCHITTI has already exited his car in the pits to await the challenge of the other Group One drivers to his track-record effort.

GREEN FLAG waves at 2:58 p.m. to resume the Group Two session.

At 2:59 p.m., #26 TRACY brushes the wall at Turn 4B but continues on course without apparent damage to the car.

CHECKERED FLAG waves at 3 p.m. to end the Group two session with #27 FRANCHITTI remaining the fastest with his lap of 106.144 mph (170.785 kph; 1:00.405), followed by #26 TRACY (105.989 mph; 170.536 kph; 1:00.493) and #2 DE FERRAN (105.470 mph; 169.701 kph; 1:00.791). DE FERRAN bumped his teammate #3 CASTRONEVES (104.753 mph; 168.547 kph; 1:01.207) from the third spot on the last lap of the session. Last year's winner MONTOYA is fifth at 104.669 mph (168.412 kph; 1:01.256). The top six drivers are separated by less than one second in lap times with the top 17 drivers separated by less than two seconds. FedEx Championship Series drivers introduced 25 cars to the track in Saturday afternoon's session with secondary cars utilized by #11X FITTIPALDI, #20X MORENO, and #32X CARPENTIER. CART drivers logged at total of 373 laps in the two qualifying sessions.

DARIO FRANCHITTI wins the Pole in his Team KOOL Green Honda/Reynard for Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver with his track qualifying record-breaking lap of 105.470 mph ( 170.785 kph; 1:00.791). The previous record was held by JUAN MONTOYA and established in 1999 at a speed of 105.730 mph. FRANCHITTI also wins the Greg Moore Pole Award, a special award given to the Pole winners at both Toronto and Vancouver. This is FRANCHITTI's second Pole of the season, his other coming at Road America, and the 10th of his career. Four of FRANCHITTI's Poles have come in Canada, with two coming at each venue, Toronto and Vancouver. This is the first front-row qualifying sweep in Team KOOL Green history. It is also the eighth Pole for Honda as well as the third in a row for the manufacturer.

PAUL TRACY sits second on the grid in his Team KOOL Green Honda/Reynard with his speed of 105.989 mph (170.536 kph; 1:00.493). This is TRACY's season-best start on a road/street course, his previous best start a seventh at Road America two weeks ago. This is also TRACY's career-best start at Vancouver as the Canadian pilot sat third in the lineup last year.

GIL DE FERRAN winds up third on the starting lineup in his Marlboro Team Penske Honda/Reynard with his 105.470 mph (169.701 kph; 1:00.791). This represents DE FERRAN's career-best start at Vancouver as well as the Brazilian's 12th top-five start in 15 events. DE FERRAN had previously started seventh in both 1997 and 1999.

Last year's winner JUAN MONTOYA is fifth on the grid and that represents the 11th time MONTOYA has qualified in the first three rows in 15 races this season; a series-high qualifying performance. MONTOYA has also qualified in the top 10 in 14 of the 15 races of the 2001 season.

Quotes from Saturday's top three qualifiers follow:

DARIO FRANCHITTI: "[The car] certainly ranks up there. I've had some pretty good cars in the past, but this one's definitely up there. The car's pretty good, and I'm very happy. It's all going according to plan right now. I didn't get the best out of the first set of tires, and Paul did a pretty good job and got up there. I thought, 'This is not the plan. What is going on here?' I just couldn't go any quicker because I was making some mistakes, but the car was quicker. It was very important to me to get the pole because of the Greg Moore Trophy. Greg's mom, Donna, came up to me and said, 'I really want you to win this.' That was on my mind during qualifying and there was a lot of pressure because I knew Paul wanted to win it too. I'm glad I got it."

PAUL TRACY: "I think my best opportunity was when I went out at the beginning of the session. I was quick for the first couple laps and then I came in. When I went back out, the car was really quick. Then, on the second set, it takes a while for the tires to build up to temperature. I turned a quick lap, and then on the next lap I looked down at the display and thought, 'This is going to be a really quick lap.' But the red flag came out when I was three-fourths of the way around. It takes a while for the tires to build back up to optimum temperatures and I didn't have enough time, so I had to settle for second."

GIL DE FERRAN: "On my first set of tires, there were several laps where I was ahead of where I was yesterday, but I kept making mistakes. I think I was trying a little too hard. On the second set, [engineer, Tom] German made a few changes and I just wanted to get into a rhythm and go for it. Unfortunately, because of the red flag, I didn't get many laps to do it. On the last lap, I said, 'Well, this is it.' I wanted to go for it, but I didn't want to make any mistakes. I wish I could've gotten one more lap."

-CART-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Moore
Teams Team Penske