Alex Zanardi and the ...
Alex Zanardi and the #66 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard lapped the 2-mile EuroSpeedway oval faster than all but teammate Tony Kanaan in today's only practice session in preparation for Saturday's German 500. Zanardi's time of 34.991 seconds (an average of 208.134 mph) was second only to Kanaan's 34.624-second (210.340-mph) effort during this afternoon's two-hour session. It was the first on-track activity of this weekend, which was plagued for the first day-and-a-half by persistent rain showers. Zanardi and Kanaan were the only two competitors to break the 35-second mark. They were some three-tenths of a second faster than the third-place time of Patrick Carpentier, who recorded a lap of 35.261 seconds (206.540 mph).
Despite their efforts, Kanaan will start 10th in Saturday's race while Zanardi will start 22nd as CART officials announced Thursday that the starting grid would be determined by the current driver point standings. Race time Saturday is 1:30 p.m. local time (7:30 a.m. EDT) with a live broadcast set for ESPN. Pre-race ceremonies will commemorate the victims of this past week's tragedies in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.
"What a day. I guess that's my answer to everyone who says I'm an old man. I'd like to see an old man turn those kinds of laps around a track like this! Actually, when you have a good car, like I had today, it makes your job very easy. I really like this circuit. It's not like any other ovals we race on in that it is very fast, but without the banking, the corners are very much like the fast turns on a road course. I like that. When you have a lot of banking, you are totally at the mercy of whether you have a good car or not. Here, as a driver, you have a lot more to do with how well you get around the circuit. Without so much banking, you can also choose a number of different lines, so we should have a chance to pass people. We will definitely need to do that tomorrow since I'm starting all the way back there, somewhere near Berlin!"