Race No. 2

Surfer's Paradise — Gold Coast, Australia
April 4 — April 6, 1997

Friday Quotes from drivers and managers at Surfer's Paradise:
Index of Quotes available


Andretti Pict #6 Kmart/Texaco/Havoline
Swift Ford Cosworth XD
"The car is about the same from this morning when we were second quickest. Christian went a different way with his set-up and it was obviously the right direction. I did a faster lap at the beginning of the session but the red flag came out before I could complete it, therefore it didn't count. I didn't get another lap like that. I think it might have been quick enough to put us right behind Christian in third."

Salles Pict #77
Reynard Ford
Davis/Craig Racing
"We have not had much time to learn about the car because we just got the car and the race was the next weekend. We'll get a lesson soon."

Herta Pict #8 Shell
Reynard Ford
Team Rahal
"We had a very tough morning with our chassis setup. Bobby was trying one setup and we were trying another. Obviously, our's didn't work. I thought I had a good lap going late in qualifying but I slid into the runoff area. Getting the rear tires to the ground is a big problem for us."

Carpentier Pict #16 Bettenhaused Racing
Alumax Aluminium
Reynard Mercedes-Benz
"Overall, it's been a very disappointing day. It's been very frustrating. During qualifying, the primary car had some sort of oil leak and because that closed the track, I had to observe an eight-minute penalty. We aren't where we want to be."

Rahal Pict #7 Miller Lite
Reynard Ford
Team Rahal
"Our gearing wasn't what we wanted for the circuit. We were able to make good progress with the chassis. I picked up a couple of seconds during qualifying but it still wasn't right. The first day at Surfers is always tough getting the power down. The track is slippery and gets better each day. So we had to soften up the suspension to get the tires to hook up."

Blundell Pict #18 PacWest Motorola
Reynard Mercedes
"We made a big improvement in the morning. We made some pretty rash changes, which in hindsight may have been a bit over the top. But the bottom line is we went a lot faster."

Vasser Pict #1 Target
Chip Ganassi Racing
Reynard Honda
"I can't get the power down and I've got a lot of understeer. I think we're going to go with Alex' setup tomorrow. He's two seconds faster, so there's gotta be something there."

Pruett Pict #20 Brahma Sports Team
Reynard Ford
"We had a major gearbox problem so had to run the backup car. We lost a little momentum but we're happy with the performance of the engine and the overall reaction of the car."

"Right now I have a little more power-on oversteer than I'd like, but we learned some things here last year about that. We're going to try to apply them to the car for tomorrow."

C. Fittipaldi Pict #11 Kmart/Budweiser
Swift Ford
Newman/Haas Racing
" It's very important that the car is comfortable over the curbs since they play such an important role here. The track isn't that much different with the change in the chicane. It's just a lot safer. I like the track. It's one of the best street courses we race on and definitely one of the best cities we race in. It's a brand new car and it's our first time here so it's sort of a test for us. We are formulating a lot of data. One area that we could improve would be traction"

"The car was much better than this morning, but as always we need to do more for tomorrow. I actually think that through the afternoon session we didn't improve much on the car, as opposed to the track conditions turning more favorable. I actually did my quickest lap on tires that had already lost their edge. They were pretty badly flat-spotted."

"Usually our cars are stronger in the race, so being second fastest is encouraging. The horsepower in our Ford engine is good, which helps here on the long straights.

[On racing in the rain]: "We have a good set-up in case it rains. For the spectators, I hope it doesn't rain. For myself, I hope it does. It's definitely harder to race in the rain, but we've had good luck in the past. At Detroit last year, I led the race in the rain. The Goodyear rain tires are the best out there."

Papis Pict #25 MCI
Arciero Wells
Reynard Toyota
"They have done a tremendous job of putting together such a fantastic street circuits. It is one of the best that I have ever been to, because there is such a long straight, good run-off areas, pretty good corners, and very nice facilities for the mechanics to work. It is a very good location. The Australian people have given me a warm welcome. Everything has been really, really special and I understand now why everyone has always spoke so highly of the Gold Coast."

"Unfortunately for us, today has been tremendously frustrating. We were only able to run four laps in qualifying so it is almost impossible to improve on the set-up of the car. The only thing we can do is work to get ready for the race and get the most out of it."

Tracy Pict #3 Marlboro
Penske Mercedes
"We made some good progress today and actually gained a full second between the morning session and qualifying. Unfortunately because of all the delays in qualifying I was never able to get a good rhythm going, but the track was slippery anyway. We have a good direction for our race set-up and that's what counts."

Johnstone Pict #27 Team Kool Green
Reynard Honda
"The car generally feels good. We're just behind a bit in a few areas on the qualifying set-up. The great thing about this track, though, is that if you make an improvement to the car it doesn't just improve in one area of the track. The car gets better for the entire track. This is why you can gain a lot of time from just a very small change."

Zanardi Pict #4 Target
Chip Ganassi Racing
Reynard Honda
"I'm quite happy with the time today. The track is still a little slippery so I expect it will improve tomorrow, maybe by as much as two seconds. Providing the rain does not come of course."

Fernandez Pict #32 Tecate Beer/Quaker State
Lola Honda
Tasman Motorsports Group
[On the improvements to the Lola Chassis]: "The car is improved, but now we have to start to learn the car all over again. At least now we're competitive. I'm within 3/10s of the next five guys and we're going in the right direction."

Gugelmin Pict #17 Hollywood
Reynard Ford
"Fourth is a decent result since we had a pretty bad day in terms of problems. We didn't get to run that much, and I'm still not very happy with the balance of the car."

"I can't get the power down out of the hairpin, my brakes are locking coming into the corner, and I can't use the curbs the way I want to. Christian went a different way in set-up and it was better than what we tried."