Pollock Confirms Villeneuve's Exit from BAR
|Saturday, October 4th 2003, 16:35 GMT|
Formula 1-bound Juan Pablo Montoya started his final weekend of Champ Car racing in style by putting in a lap at the California Speedway just 0.080mph slower than the all-time oval speed record.
The Colombian's 242.253mph lap is the fastest ever with a drag-increasing 'Handford Device' rear wing, but is still just short of Mauricio Gugelmin's record lap - also set at the two-mile Fontana oval - of 242.333mph in 1997.
Montoya admitted to several tows during what was still a very impressive lap – and one which could send CART back to the drawing board in its ongoing quest to keep superspeedway speeds at manageable levels.
CART Series points leader Gil de Ferran's Team Penske Reynard-Honda posted the second fastest time of 239.198mph after rain delayed practice by three hours, with his team mate Helio Castroneves (238.971mph), Christian Fittipaldi (238.909mph) and title-contender Paul Tracy (238.270mph) completing the top five.
The three other drivers in with a chance of the title, Adrian Fernandez, Kenny Brack and Roberto Moreno, finished the day 12th, 16th and 22nd respectively, albeit with several T-cars clouding the overall picture somewhat.
Scotland's Dario Franchitti, still winless in 2000, was seventh overall (238.099mph), with Mark Blundell 26th in his final event with the PacWest squad.
Single-car qualifying on Saturday afternoon will determine the Fontana starting grid.