IRL: Motegi: Mo Nunn Racing Friday report

Giaffone sixth, Takagi 11th as practice opens at Twin Ring Motegi. MOTEGI, Japan (Friday, April 11, 2003) -- Mo Nunn Racing teammates Felipe Giaffone and Tora Takagi opened practice for Sunday's Indy Japan 300 by securing the sixth- and ...

Giaffone sixth, Takagi 11th as practice opens at Twin Ring Motegi.

MOTEGI, Japan (Friday, April 11, 2003) -- Mo Nunn Racing teammates Felipe Giaffone and Tora Takagi opened practice for Sunday's Indy Japan 300 by securing the sixth- and 11th-fastest laps of the day today.

Giaffone and his #21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force clocked a lap of 26.7064 seconds (204.895 mph) around the Twin Ring Motegi 1.5-mile egg-shaped oval this afternoon for the sixth-fastest lap of the session and on the day. He was fourth in this morning's opening practice session with a lap of 26.8188 seconds (204.036 mph).

Takagi, a local favorite from the outskirts of Tokyo, powered his way in the #12 Pioneer/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force to a lap of 26.8246 seconds (203.992 mph) this morning that was fifth-fastest for the session but only 11th-fastest on the day. His best lap this afternoon came in at just a tick slower at 26.8482 seconds (203.813 mph) as the Pioneer team focused on race setup for Sunday's main event.

All of the top nine times of the day were recorded in the afternoon session, led by Scott Dixon at 26.4353 seconds (206.996 mph), Tony Kanaan at 26.5008 seconds (206.484 mph) and Kenny Brack at 26.6185 seconds (205.571 mph). Teammates Al Unser, Jr., (26.6759 seconds, 205.129 mph) and Scott Sharp (26.6803 seconds, 205.095 mph) rounded out the top five on the combined practice sheet.

Practice is scheduled to resume Saturday morning, local time, with qualifying set to start at 1 p.m. local time (midnight EDT). The weather forecast, however, calls for rain throughout the day. IN the event qualifying is rained out, Sunday's starting grid will be determined by combined practice results of sessions completed. Race time Sunday is 12:30 p.m. local time (11:30 p.m. EDT Saturday) with a tape-delayed broadcast set for Sunday at 1 p.m. EDT on ABC-TV.

FELIPE GIAFFONE

"I think we had a pretty decent day, especially considering this is a brand new track for us. We were definitely strong in the first session this morning. The car felt comfortable right away. In the second session, we tried quite a few things -- some worked out, some didn't. We would make a change and the car would pick up a push. Then we'd make another change and it went loose. So we just need to find that middle ground where the car will work best for the race on Sunday. There's a good chance qualifying will get rained out tomorrow, so we had to work a little more on going fast than we maybe would on any other Friday. But we'll be alright no matter what happens tomorrow. I think on this track, the difference between race setup and qualifying setup is not that great. With the cooler temperatures we're having here, we're getting a lot of downforce so it's a lot easier to work with the car."

TORA TAKAGI

"The car was very good today for me. I was very happy with how things worked out in the morning session. I think we were at a little disadvantage running with the first (practice) group because I don't know if we were able to get the absolute most out of the car. But we were fifth in the morning. We tried running more of a race setup in the afternoon session and the car was very consistent. It seems to be much easier to get around this track driving my Pioneer IndyCar than with my Pioneer Champ Car the last two years. These cars have a lot more downforce and the cars work very well in the corners right away. It think it will be very exciting for racing on Sunday."

-mnr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Tora Takagi , Kenny Brack , Al Unser , Mo Nunn