IRL: Pikes Peak: Panoz G Force Saturday report

Rain Washes out Honda Indy 225 Qualifying at Pikes Peak Meira Starts Third FOUNTAIN, CO, 21 August 2004 Qualifying for the Honda Indy 225 at Pikes Peak International Raceway was rained out this afternoon, but the 22 competitors here had two ...

Rain Washes out Honda Indy 225 Qualifying at Pikes Peak Meira Starts Third

FOUNTAIN, CO, 21 August 2004 Qualifying for the Honda Indy 225 at Pikes Peak International Raceway was rained out this afternoon, but the 22 competitors here had two practice sessions to hone their cars for the Sunday afternoon contest. In a field based on times set during one dual-group morning and one similar afternoon session, Vitor Meira earned the third highest grid slot in his #17 Team Centrix Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone challenger with a tour of this moderately banked mile oval of 173.149mph. The Brazilian thought, "We made some improvements with the car in the second practice," when his quick time was set. "The track got better too and we were able to get a qualifying run in that practice and then work on full tanks. The car felt good and I think we could have gone faster if we had a chance to qualify."

That opportunity never came as both rain and small hail inundated the track abutting the Rocky Mountains just 15 minutes before qualifying was set to begin. "Third is not a bad position for the race," Meira contended. "You can pass here and with the IndyCar Series, the competition is so tight and this track is good for passing."

Belterra Casino Indy 225 winner Adrian Fernandez starts seventh in the #5 Quaker State/Telmex Panoz G Force/Honda after turning 171.695mph in the second practice session. This is Fernandez' first competition on this mile oval and "I think the track has been difficult for everybody. Running at these high altitudes makes the car tough to drive," he admitted. "I was actually surprised I ended up in seventh because it didn't feel that g o o d . " His teammate, Kosuke Matsuura had the sole incident of practice today, injuring his #55 Panasonic/ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda but not himself and will start last in his spare car.

Darren Manning earned eighth on the 22-car grid in his #10 Team Target Panoz G Force/Toyota at 171.675mph. "It's roughly where we would have been, I think and it's not too bad starting eighth. I'm looking forward to the race and expecting we can do well here. There will be plenty of chances to overtake on both low and high lines and it should be fun." Teammate and defending series and race winner Scott Dixon starts tenth in the #1 Team Target Panoz G Force/Toyota after turning the second quickest lap in morning practice of 171.445mph.

The "fun" Manning expects begins at 3:45 PM EDT Sunday afternoon and ABC offers live coverage starting at 3:30 PM of race #12 in a 16-event campaign. The weather forecast calls for isolated thunderstorms and temperatures around 80 degrees.

-pgf-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Adrian Fernandez , Scott Dixon , Kosuke Matsuura , Vitor Meira