Montoya flies in practice

Juan Montoya set the pace in Saturday morning practice in Detroit, and only Penske's Helio Castroneves could get anywhere near him

Montoya flies in practice

Montoya's lap of 1m13.242s was 0.2s faster than Castroneves' best and the Penske driver crashed late in the session trying to match him.

The nearest challenger to Montoya and Castroneves was fellow South American Cristiano da Matta in PPI's Reynard-Toyota, but he was a massive 0.8s adrift. Nevertheless, this was still an impressive performance for the relatively inexperienced driver and his comparatively small team.

Provisional polesitter Max Papis was fourth, ahead of Gil de Ferran in the second Penske and Tony Kanaan's Mo Nunn entry, the fastest Mercedes runner. Dario Franchitti briefly topped the times but later slipped to seventh.

Roberto Moreno and Michel Jourdain Jr both caused brief stoppages by crashing without serious damage.

Montoya's practice pace suggests that Ganassi now have their Lola-Toyota package as well set-up for street courses as it is on ovals. Nevertheless the Penskes, both Rahal cars, Franchitti, Kanaan and da Matta have all been fighting for the top spot all weekend and will be chasing Montoya hard in qualifying.

Practice times from Detroit:

1 Juan Montoya Ganassi Lola-Toyota 1m13.242s
2 Helio Castroneves Penske Reynard-Honda 1m13.441s
3 Christiano da Matta PPI Reynard-Toyota 1m14.034s
4 Max Papis Rahal Reynard-Ford 1m14.153s
5 Gil de Ferran Penske Reynard-Honda 1m14.360s
6 Tony Kanaan Mo Nunn Reynard-Mercedes 1m14.569s
7 Dario Franchitti KOOL Green Reynard-Honda 1m14.653s
8 Kenny Brack Rahal Reynard-Ford 1m15.009s
9 Christian Fittipaldi Newman-Haas Lola-Ford 1m15.273s
10 Patrick Carpentier Forsythe Reynard-Ford 1m15.354s
11 Jimmy Vasser Ganassi Lola-Toyota 1m15.532s
12 Paul Tracy KOOL Green Reynard-Honda 1m15.546s
13 Oriol Servia PPI Reynard-Toyota 1m15.634s
14 Michael Andretti Newman-Haas Lola-Ford 1m15.652s
15 Alex Tagliani Forsythe Reynard-Ford 1m15.731s
16 Mark Blundell PacWest Reynard-Mercedes 1m15.834s
17 Mauricio Gugelmin PacWest Reynard-Mercedes 1m16.012s
18 Michel Jourdain Jr Bettenhausen Lola-Mercedes 1m16.382s
19 Roberto Moreno Patrick Reynard-Ford 1m16.706s
20 Norberto Fontana Della Penna Reynard-Toyota 1m16.920s
21 Luiz Garcia Jr Arciero Project Reynard-Mercedes 1m17.123s
22 Adrian Fernandez Patrick Reynard-Ford 1m17.294s
23 Shinji Nakano Walker Reynard-Honda 1m17.467s
24 Takuya Kurosawa Dale Coyne Lola-Ford 1m18.201s
25 Tarso Marques Dale Coyne Swift-Ford 1m18.894s

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