Takagi to start third, Giaffone Eighth, at Richmond RICHMOND, Va. (Friday, June 27, 2003) -- Mo Nunn Racing teammates Tora Takagi and Felipe Giaffone will start Saturday night's SunTrust Indy Challenge third and eighth, respectively, after ...
Takagi to start third, Giaffone Eighth, at Richmond
RICHMOND, Va. (Friday, June 27, 2003) -- Mo Nunn Racing teammates Tora Takagi and Felipe Giaffone will start Saturday night's SunTrust Indy Challenge third and eighth, respectively, after today's rain-delayed qualifying session at the Richmond International Raceway three-quarter-mile oval.
Takagi and the #12 Pioneer/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force circled the IRL IndyCar Series' shortest track in 16.1944 seconds (166.724 mph) after a one-hour rain delay two-thirds of the way through today's qualifying session. Takagi, who will make his first career start here on Saturday night, was ninth in today's opening practice session and sixth in the second session. It will be Takagi's third start in the No. 3 starting position this season -- his Indy-style racing career best -- and his fourth top-five start in the last five races.
Giaffone and the #21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force clocked a fast qualifying lap of 16.3057 seconds (165.586 mph) before the rains came. Giaffone opened the day with the sixth-fastest practice lap but struggled in the late-afternoon practice session and was 20th. Giaffone started 10th and finished third here last year for Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing.
Scott Dixon earned the pole today with a fast lap of 16.0582 seconds (168.138 mph) and will be joined on the front row by Sarah Fisher, who turned in a fast qualifying lap of 16.1673 seconds (167.004 mph).
"I'm very happy with my qualifying position. The car was very good all day. We had to change very little on the car for qualifying after the rain (delay). Tire pressure is all we really had to change. The track had more grip after the rain and the temperature was cooler, so I knew right away we were going to have a very good time. The race will be very interesting. This is a very short track, so it will be very challenging. I think it is good that we will be racing at night because the temperatures will be cooler and there will be better grip. We will need better grip. I want to say the entire Pioneer team did a great job today. I am really looking forward to having fun tomorrow night."
"The day started out well for us but then we ended up struggling in the second practice, so we went back to the drawing board and totally re-did our setup. Actually, we learned a lot from (teammate) Tora (Takagi) about what the Hollywood car would probably like and not like for qualifying. So we gave it a shot and it turned out to be the right way to go. Everything was looking good for us until the rain came. I panicked a little bit because I thought the rain would force them to cancel qualifying and we would have to go back to setting the grid by practice times, and we would have lost probably about eight spots on the grid. After all that, I'll have to say we feel better about eighth than we would have about 16th. I had a lot of fun here during the race last year. I'm hoping it's going to be the same tomorrow night. You have to have more patience here than almost anywhere else we race. You have to stay with it, even if your car is not perfect, because you can go backwards in a hurry. If you are able to keep improving your car, and have a little bit of luck along the way, things usually work out pretty well for you here. We need a good race."