Montoya signals pole intent

Juan Montoya was fastest in Saturday morning practice for the Molson Indy Toronto and looks like he will be tough to beat in this afternoon's qualifying session

Montoya signals pole intent

The reigning CART champion was the first man to set a serious quick time. He finished yesterday's first qualifying session second to Dario Franchitti, and it seemed as though it would be another battle between the Columbian and the Scot in the practice session.

However, while Montoya spent the whole 75 minutes in and around the top six before reclaiming the top spot from Michael Andretti with five minutes to go, Franchitti was only 19th and went off at turn three on his final fast lap.

He was in good company. Gil de Ferran, Andretti, Oriol Servia (twice,) Christian Fittipaldi and Michel Jourdain Jr all visited the escape road at the end of Lakeshore Boulevard during the session.

The Newman-Haas cars of Fittipaldi and Andretti look like serious contenders this weekend. Both were quickest overall at different times during the session and made it a Lola one-two-three and finishing just behind Montoya.

Paul Tracy leapt to fourth on his final run after a poor start to the weekend. He also escaped a spin at turn one.

The top six was completed by two of CART's rising Brazilian stars. Cristiano da Matta went fastest with fifteen minutes to go but slipped to fifth, while Helio Castroneves caused a red flag early in the session when his Penske Reynard stopped on course. He got back out in the back-up car and was in the top five right from his first flying lap, ending up sixth quickest.

Both Team Rahal cars also looked fast, despite Kenny Brack brushing the turn one wall then spinning in turn eight. PacWest drivers Mauricio Gugelmin and Marl Blundell spent much of the session in the top six but eventually slipped to 12th and 13th.

Series leader Roberto Moreno was only 15th but his Patrick Racing team-mate Adrian Fernandez did well to go eighth fastest.

Qualifying starts at 6.45pm UK time.

Saturday morning practice times from Toronto:

1 Juan Montoya Ganassi Lola-Toyota 58.198s
2 Christian Fittipaldi Newman-Haas Lola-Ford 58.298s
3 Michael Andretti Newman-Haas Lola-Ford 58.533s
4 Paul Tracy Green Reynard-Honda 58.650s
5 Cristiano da Matta PPI Reynard-Toyota 58.693s
6 Helio Castroneves Penske Reynard-Honda 58.750s
7 Max Papis Rahal Reynard-Ford 58.773s
8 Adrian Fernandez Patrick Reynard-Ford 58.818s
9 Kenny Brack Rahal Reynard-Ford 58.947s
10 Oriol Servia PPI Reynard-Toyota 59.029s
11 Jimmy Vasser Ganassi Lola-Toyota 59.086s
12 Mauricio Gugelmin PacWest Reynard-Mercedes 59.126s
13 Mark Blundell PacWest Reynard-Mercedes 59.137s
14 Gil de Ferran Penske Reynard-Honda 59.207s
15 Roberto Moreno Patrick Reynard-Ford 59.265s
16 Patrick Carpentier Forsythe Reynard-Ford 59.307s
17 Alex Tagliani Forsythe Reynard-Ford 59.384s
18 Shinji Nakano Walker Reynard-Honda 59.448s
19 Dario Franchitti Green Reynard-Honda 59.488s
20 Bryan Herta Mo Nunn Reynard-Mercedes 59.588s
21 Norberto Fontana Della Penna Reynard-Toyota 59.601s
22 Michel Jourdain Jr Bettenhausen Lola-Mercedes 59.661s
23 Tarso Marques Dale Coyne Swift-Ford 59.898s
24 Luiz Garcia Jr Arciero Reynard-Mercedes 1m01.658s
25 Takuya Kurosawa Dale Coyne Lola-Ford 1m02.343s

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