Herta flies in series comeback

Bryan Herta starred on his return to the CART Championship Series by qualifying ninth in the first session at Long Beach

Herta flies in series comeback

The American driver is substituting for Shinji Nakano at Walker Racing, the Japanese driver still recovering from head injuries sustaining in a testing crash two weeks ago.

'I'm pretty happy,' said Herta. 'I was able to run about 65 laps at Firebird and that's the only seat time I've had in a 2000 Reynard so I'm still learning what the car likes.

'The Walker Racing guys put in a great effort to help us qualify in the top ten.'

Herta, who has won two races in a seven-year CART career, was dropped by Team Rahal at the end of last season. He appeared to have found a new drive with Forsythe Championship Racing, but this situation was plunged into confusion before the start of the season when owner Jerry Forsythe claimed he had been refused a franchise for a third entry by CART. Forsythe already enters two cars under the Player's/Forsythe banner.

It was suspected that the franchise issue was a cover for a dispute between Forsythe and chassis manufacturers Swift, after the 2000-spec car proved off the pace in testing.

Links have since been severed between the two organisations and Swift now plans to run its works team in-house. It entered a car for Brazilian Tarso Marques at Long Beach but withdrew before practice.

Rumours suggest that FCR will be making a comeback with a new chassis and Herta, but in the meantime the American driver has no concrete plans for the future.

'I'm definitely in the car for Brazil, and Shinji is hoping to be ready to drive again in Japan,' he explained.

'I'm just taking it race by race. I'm definitely enjoying the opportunity to work with Derek Walker and his team. We'll just let the future take care of itself.'

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