Qualifying 2: As you were

As usual, the weather forecasters were incorrect and final Champ Car qualifying at the Autodromo Hernandos Rodriguez in Mexico City took place under glorious sunny skies. But the Saturday session turned out to be anticlimactic, marred by a number of red flags and a jarring crash for Dario Franchitti.

Qualifying 2: As you were

No one was able to top Bruno Junqueira's Friday lap of 1m25.941s, allowing the Brazilian to claim his fourth pole of the season. Junqueira was also fastest on Saturday on 1m26.126s, giving him another championship point in his quest to finish second in the overall season standings. He now enjoys a five-point edge over Patrick Carpentier and 11 points over Franchitti.

"It's good to keep the pole because I never got two laps in a row," said Junqueira. "It was very slippery in the fast part of the track and I was happy to get one good lap in to take fast time of the day."

The main talking point was Franchitti's accident, which occurred when he slid off on oil dropped by his team-mate Paul Tracy's blown Honda engine. The incident couldn't have occurred at a worse place - the fast final turn of the esses.

Dario's Lola-Honda snapped sideways on the oil, and after he almost managed to get it corrected, it thumped the outside concrete wall with the right front corner. Afterwards, Franchitti was livid with CART officials because he felt a red flag should have been thrown. A waving yellow flag was shown instead.

"There were some interesting calls coming out of Race Control in that session," Franchitti said. "There was a knee-jerk reaction when they threw the red flag for (Tora) Takagi's spin. Yet when Paul dropped oil on one of the fastest and most dangerous corners on the track, it took my crash to make them throw the red.

"If they don't know the difference between safe and unsafe, they shouldn't be doing this job," Dario continued. "My accident is the proof of that. It was not a good situation and we're left with a pretty damaged car. I'm lucky I'll be able to race tomorrow."

Franchitti was disappointed because the red flag earlier in the session (for Takagi's harmless spin) cost him a lap that he felt would have beaten Junqueira for the pole.

"I'm just looking for some consistency from the officials," he said. "Hopefully that's something we'll find next year in the IRL."

While the top three remained the same (Junqueira, Christian Fittipaldi and Franchitti), Kanaan improved one place to fourth to displace Jimmy Vasser. The American lost an engine in the brief warm-up prior to qualifying and elected to sit the session out rather than forfeit his time for switching to the spare car.

"We saw that not many guys were going faster today, so we decided to wait and it was the right call," he said.

Kenny Brack improved three places to sixth on the grid to head Patrick Carpentier, Tracy (who dropped one position) and Mario Dominguez, who led the Mexican contingent by qualifying a career-best ninth.

Series champion Cristiano da Matta's poor weekend continued as he qualified 12th. The Newman-Haas driver spun to bring out yet another red flag with less than a minute to go in the session, brewing up another officiating controversy.

"One time it went green when the first guy crossed the start/finish line and the next time they started the clock when we left the pits," Fittipaldi said.

"It's really disappointing that the rules changed during the session," remarked Michael Andretti, who qualified 10th for his final CART race. "We thought we would have one more timed lap based on how CART handled the previous red flag, but that wasn't the case. It's a shame because I know we would have improved our time on that one lap."

Qualifying 1: Junqueira's overnight pole

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