High Five For De Ferran
October 10, 2003 | 9:59 A.M. EST
de Ferran turned a fast lap of 23.5031 seconds, 222.864 mph in the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone to earn his fifth career IndyCar Series pole. He earned his last MBNA Pole at Gateway International Raceway in 2002.
“We did very good,” said de Ferran, the 2003 Indianapolis 500 champion. “We just have to massage it a little bit. We did really good in qualifying. We have a little bit more polishing to do. My guys did a really good job in figuring out what we needed in qualifying.”
de Ferran, who will retire from IndyCar Series competition following the Chevy 500, has an outside chance of claiming the series title. He trails series points leaders Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves by 30 points. Dixon and Castroneves are tied for first with 367 points.
Dixon qualified second at 23.5040, 222.856 in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone.
“It was a pretty good run,” Dixon said. “It’s good to start up front here. It was a good day in general. I can’t complain. Qualifying has been our strength all year. It’s easier to stay out of the mess when you start up front, but if you have a good car, you can get up front.”
Dixon’s teammate, Tomas Scheckter, will start third at 23.5988, 221.960 in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone.
“I’m pretty happy with how we did tonight in qualifying,” Scheckter said. “We didn’t work too much on qualifying setup during the day. We were on the pole here back in June, so we had a lot of data to work with. All the guys here at Team Target have been awesome to work with. I was hoping to give them a pole win today, but I’ll try my best to give them a race win on Sunday.”
Felipe Giaffone qualified fourth with a lap of 23.5988, 221.954 in the No. 21 Hollywood Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Castroneves rounded out the top five at 23.6073, 221.881 in the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone.
In addition to de Ferran, Dixon and Castroneves, Tony Kanaan and Sam Hornish Jr. are in contention for the 2003 IndyCar Series Championship. Kanaan qualified ninth, and Hornish qualified 12th.
The Chevy 500 starts at 2:30 p.m. (CDT) Oct. 11 and will be broadcast live on ABC and the IMS Radio Network.