IRL: Phoenix: Franchitti Saturday report

Franchitti to start 9th at Phoenix. AVONDALE, Arizona (March 22, 2003) -- Dario Franchitti qualified his ...

Franchitti to start 9th at Phoenix.

AVONDALE, Arizona (March 22, 2003) -- Dario Franchitti qualified his #27 Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone on the inside of the fifth row for the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series Purex Dial Indy 200 at Phoenix International Raceway today. The 29-year-old Scotsman will start ninth after posting a speed of 176.296 mph (20.4202 s) at the one-mile desert oval.

After concentrating on race setup during most of the practice sessions, Franchitti ran a qualifying simulation and felt the team had found a good setup. He was confident of posting a fast time as he began his second qualifying lap but the car became loose at the exit of Turn 2 and he lifted off the throttle, costing him valuable time.

Franchitti's teammate Tony Kanaan captured his second consecutive MBNA Pole Award with a speed of 178.512 mph (20.1667 s) and in doing so earned Team 7-Eleven another $10,000 bonus. Felipe Giaffone will start on the outside of the front row after posting a speed 177.766 mph (20.2515 s). Scott Dixon will line up third after lapping the one-mile oval at 177.661 mph (20.2633 s). Franchitti's other technical partner, Michael Andretti, will start fifth with a speed of 176.842 mph (20.3572 s).

Round 2 of the IRL IndyCar Series will take the green flag at 3:30 p.m. ET tomorrow. ABC Sports will broadcast the Purex Dial Indy 200 live from Phoenix International Raceway.

Dario Franchitti , Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola:

"The car was pretty close to where we were this morning. I had a pretty interesting moment in Turn 2 on the second lap. I was flat right through the apex and I thought this was going to be a good lap. But just as I got to the exit the car got really loose. It's disappointing because I know we are quicker than the time we posted. I'm pretty happy because the Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola guys did a good job today. The Phoenix track is interesting, I haven't raced here yet but I have tested here a few times and I'm looking forward to the race. Tony did another brilliant job in qualifying today by getting his second pole this year. That just shows the strength of our team."

Allen McDonald , Race Engineer, Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola

"Having a good race car is the most important thing in this series. Yesterday and this morning we worked on race balance but we were able to sneak in a qualifying simulation. We thought we had found something but it doesn't look like we were good enough. We know we have a good race car behind us so we're confident for tomorrow. One of the really difficult things about Phoenix is you have to be able to adjust for how much the track changes. How we try and adapt to the changes is by looking at all of the data from each session as well as comparing it with all three teams. Having two teammates to work with is definitely an advantage."


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Michael Andretti , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan