TORONTO, CANADA - SATURDAY, JULY 14, 2001 -- Round ...
TORONTO, CANADA - SATURDAY, JULY 14, 2001 -- Round #10 of the 2001 FedEx Championship Series - Visteon/Patrick Racing's Roberto Moreno qualified ninth while teammate Jimmy Vasser will line-up 16th for tomorrow's Molson Indy on the temporary street circuit at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Canada.
Moreno, behind the wheel of the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard, began the day 15th on the combined practice report after Friday's twin practices with a time of 59.300 seconds (106.543 mph). Taking advantage of ideal weather and improved track conditions during Saturday morning practice the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing crew continued to improve the car and their standing on the practice report. Moreno's fastest time in morning practice was 58.772 seconds (107.500 mph) putting him 11th on the speed chart.
In qualifying Moreno went out with the second or "fast group" and, once again, the car was improved and the track was faster due to increased grip from additional rubber. Moreno ran his fastest time of the weekend in qualifying turning a quick lap of 58.195 seconds (108.512 mph). He will lineup on the inside of row #10.
"The #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing team is quite happy," Moreno said. "We are the first Toyota powered car on the starting grid and we qualified in the top-10. I have a very good racecar and because we played our tire strategy conservatively we have good tires for the race. We also have a fast car on old tires. I did my fastest lap this morning on tires that had 40 laps on them. The Visteon/Patrick Racing Toyota Reynard has improved every time out and we are adapting to the changing track. The Visteon/Patrick Racing team, once again, did a great job, so I think all in all everything is in place for tomorrow's race," Moreno concluded.
Moreno has now qualified in the top-10 in three of his last four races and four times in 10 attempts this season. It is his second top-10 starting position in five attempts at Toronto and his second best qualifying position (fourth in 1986). He has finished in the top-10 once in four races placing fourth in 1999.
The talented and personable native of Brazil is trying to continue a recent streak of success that has seen him move from 17th in the championship standings into the top-10, for the first time this season, at number 10 with 41 points. Moreno has finished in the top-10 in three consecutive races with two podium showings. He has placed in the top-10 four times this year and has scored points in six of his last seven starts and in six of the eight races this season (Long Beach - 11th; Nazareth - 12th; Japan - 10th; Detroit - third; Portland - second; Cleveland - eighth).
The Weston, Florida resident has finished in the points in 15 of his last 24 CART road/street course starts with 12 top-10 placements, seven top five showings and five podiums including one victory. He has finished in the top-10 in 22 of his last 41 starts and in the points 28 times.
Vasser, in the #40 Visteon/Patrick Racing team, started the day 18th on the combined speed charts with a fast lap of 59.360 seconds (106.435 mph) following Friday's practices. In the Saturday morning practice Vasser got off to a bad start when his primary car experienced a mechanical problem forcing him into the backup car. The #40 Visteon/Patrick Racing crew showed its usual efficiency and quickly had the backup car running among the leaders with a quick time of 59.074 seconds (106.951 mph), placing them fifth on the speed chart with 15 minutes remaining in the session. Unfortunately, shortly thereafter, Vasser spun putting an end to his practice and putting him 19th on the practice report.
In qualifying, Vasser also ran with the second or quick group, but had a more difficult time than his teammate. The #40 Visteon/Patrick Racing team continued to make changes to the car throughout the first segment of qualifying and it was not until he put on his second set of new tires, with a little over 10 minutes remaining in the session, that Vasser appeared ready to challenge for a top-10 starting stop. Unfortunately, he got stuck behind some slower traffic and was unable to work his way free thus preventing him from taking advantage of an improved setup with his tires at optimum temperature. Vasser also ran his fastest lap of the weekend in qualifying running a fast time of 58.390 seconds (108.203 mph). He will start on the outside of row #8.
"The #40 Visteon/Patrick Racing team had a mechanical problem this morning so we had to switch to the backup car and that hurt us a little in qualifying," Vasser explained. "We didn't get a chance to work with the primary car as much as we would have liked so we were a little behind in qualifying. We made some changes to the car during qualifying that improved it, but then on my second set of new tires I just couldn't get a clean quick lap because of traffic. I thought we had a chance of qualifying in the top-10, but we will just have to make the best of a bad situation. This isn't my, or the Visteon/Patrick Racing team's first rodeo. We will just have to work a little harder in the race tomorrow," Vasser noted.
Vasser, who is currently seventh in the championship race with 50 points, will be trying to get back into the top-five in the standings during tomorrow's race. He is just six points out of fourth place and based on his past record at Toronto his chances of moving up appear good. Despite qualifying in the top-10 only four times in 10 attempts at Toronto, Vasser has finished in the points in seven of nine race and in the top-10 the last five consecutive years including one podium showing, a third in 1998.
The 35-year-old former CART Champion is trying to regain the early season momentum that saw him place in the top-six in the first four races of the year and had him sitting firmly in third place in the title race. The native of California is coming off a fifth place finish at Cleveland which snapped a streak of three consecutive finishes out of the points. He earned his fourth top-five finish of the season at Cleveland and has now placed in the top-six in five of the eight races this year (Mexico - sixth; Long Beach - fifth; Nazareth - fourth; Japan - fifth; Cleveland - fifth).
Vasser, who resides in Las Vegas, Nevada, has started 94 CART road/street races placing in the points 56 times with 49 top-10 finishes including 25 top-five showings, 14 podium appearances and four victories. He has finished 91 of his last 111 races placing in the points 86 times (dating to Milwaukee in 1995). HeHe
The Molson Indy Toronto will be run tomorrow, Sunday, July 15 at 1:00 PM (ET) and will be televised live on ESPN.