De Ferran takes pole despite crash

Gil de Ferran retained his provisional pole from Saturday despite crashing near the end of today's final qualifying session at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

De Ferran takes pole despite crash

De Ferran turned the fastest time of day once again but was a few tenths of a second slower than his best from yesterday. He was trying to shave a little more time off when an apparent transmission fauilure caused his rear wheels to lock as he entered the first turn at around 160 mph. His car flew off the road, hit a tyre barrier and flipped, but de Ferran was entirely uninjured in the accident.

"The rear wheels seized up and I lost the rear end right on entry," de Ferran said. "From there it was accident control technique! I tried to keep the car sliding and stop it from going into a spin. I knew I was carrying a lot of speed through the gravel. I thought I was going to hit pretty hard. I leaned back a little bit and put my head back."

De Ferran was relieved with the outcome of the accident as he came to a rest upside-down, but completely conscious and unscarred. "I was surprised. It didn't hit too hard and when I finally opened my eyes I was upside-down. I was fine. I just started talking to the team and the guys, telling them I was OK."

De Ferran said track conditions weren't quite as good today as yesterday. The weather has been perfect at Mid-Ohio this weekend, with almost cloudless skies and temperatures barely reaching the lows 80s (F). But with so much sun on the track conditions were a little more slippery today than on Friday. "I felt the track was a little more slick and more difficult today," de Ferran said.

Provisionally, until the stewards confirm otherwise, de Ferran's teammate Helio Castroneves will start second on Sunday, based on yesterday's qualifying time. A question remains about whether Dario Franchitti's fastest lap today will be allowed. If so, it will move Franchitti up to second on the grid between the Penske teammates.

Franchitti produced his fast lap at the end of today's qualifying, just as the red flag came out for de Ferran's accident. Franchitti believes he completed his quick lap before the red flag, but CART officials provisionally disallowed the time, saying it was completed after the red flag was displayed.

"The red flag was displayed after my hot lap," Franchitti said. "The first red was shown to me entering the bridge at turn one. As far as I'm concerned, the time should stand."

At this point, Franchitti will start third however, behind the pair of Penske/Reynard-Hondas. Kenny Brack was fourth today followed by Christian Fittipaldi, Max Papis, Cristiano da Matta and championship leader Michael Andretti in eighth.

"I was sliding around a lot," Andretti said. "Now I have to work on getting a top five in the race. It's hard to pass here so we will have to make up some spots in the pits. It will just be a race of hanging in there and bringing home some points toward the championship."

Patrick Carpentier will start ninth with defending champion and last year's Mid-Ohio racewinner Juan Pablo Montoya starting tenth. "The car feels pretty good," Montoya said. "It was handling much better today. I've been pushing the car and taking it to the limit and to do that you've really got to move with the car. I have had good results at this track and tomorrow will hopefully be the same."

Andretti to leave Champ Cars?

Previous article

Andretti to leave Champ Cars?

Next article

Castroneves wins Penske parade

Castroneves wins Penske parade
Load comments
The one-time Schumacher rival rebooting his career Down Under Plus

The one-time Schumacher rival rebooting his career Down Under

Joey Mawson made waves in the middle of the last decade, beating future Haas Formula 1 driver Mick Schumacher - among other highly-rated talents - to the 2016 German F4 title. A run in F1's feeder GP3 category only caused his career to stall, but now back in Australia Mawson's S5000 title success has set that to rights

May 8, 2021
The lesson football’s would-be wreckers could learn from racing Plus

The lesson football’s would-be wreckers could learn from racing

OPINION: The greed-driven push for a European Super League that threatened to tear football apart is collapsing at the seams. Motor racing's equivalent, the football-themed Superleague Formula series of 2008-11, was everything that the proposed ESL never could be

Apr 21, 2021
The F1 and Indy 'nearly man' that found contentment in Japan Plus

The F1 and Indy 'nearly man' that found contentment in Japan

Having had the door to F1 slammed in his face and come within three laps of winning the Indianapolis 500, the collapse of a Peugeot LMP1 shot meant Japan was Bertrand Baguette's last chance of a career. But it's one which he has grasped with both hands

Feb 27, 2021
The female all-rounder who arrived "too early" Plus

The female all-rounder who arrived "too early"

From Formula 3 to truck racing, Dakar and EuroNASCAR via a winning stint in the DTM, there's not much Ellen Lohr hasn't seen in a stellar racing career that highlights the merit in being a generalist. But she believes her career came too early...

Feb 17, 2021
How Radical's latest machines fare on track Plus

How Radical's latest machines fare on track

The lightweight sportscar manufacturer has not rewritten the rulebook with its latest machines, but the new SR3 XX and SR10 still provide a step forward on its previous successful models

Feb 8, 2021
The real-life racing rogues stranger than fiction Plus

The real-life racing rogues stranger than fiction

The forthcoming Netflix film linking the world of underworld crime and motorsport plays on a theme that isn't exactly new. Over the years, several shady figures have attempted to make it in racing before their dubious dealings caught up with them

Jan 31, 2021
How a GP is thriving in a COVID-free territory Plus

How a GP is thriving in a COVID-free territory

The New Zealand Grand Prix's mix of rising talent and big-name stars thrilled the crowds (yes, remember crowds?) assembled for the Toyota Racing Series meeting at Hampton Downs last weekend and left distant observers craving a repeat

Jan 26, 2021
How a much-changed Macau GP kept the party going Plus

How a much-changed Macau GP kept the party going

OPINION: The 67th edition of the Macau Grand Prix might have been a largely muted affair to the outside world without its international influx and star line-ups, another victim to the COVID-19 pandemic, but organisers deserve huge credit for keeping the party going

Nov 24, 2020