Race No. 2

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

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


Vasser Pict#1 Target
Chip Ganassi Racing
Reynard Honda
"We're trying to be the first ever two-time winner here, and today I'm feeling pretty good. Anything can happen at this race and starting third is okay. I like our chances and we'll be there at the finish. Congratulations to Alex, he's done a great job again today, but I want to beat him tomorrow."

Moore Pict#99 Forsythe
Reynard Mercedes-Benz
"I came in with five minutes to go and put on the second set of tires. I went out and did a fairly quick lap but the second one was faster. I got lucky enough to have two clear laps. The track was much faster because there was more rubber on it."

Tracy Pict#3 Marlboro
Penske Mercedes
"I think we got ourselves on track during the last hour, but there'sstill room for improvement. I thought I could have done a couple ofcorners better. In the first two chicanes, I didn't do that well. ButI was on the lap where I needed to do the time, and the rest of thelap went pretty well."

"It was a great qualifying session and unfortunately Alex got us onthe final lap. But the important thing is the car is running well andwe've got some good sets of tires ready for the race so we should belooking real good for tomorrow."

"The Marlboro car is good on power and the entire Team has workedreally hard and we've done our homework. We struggled a bit with thecar yesterday. We were going in the wrong direction on the set-up butthe engineers got it sorted out. We ran some long runs this morningon full tanks and we know we're headed in the right direction. Ithink that we proved in Miami that the car is good on longruns."

"I like this track, it suits my driving style and this is the beststart I've ever had here in Surfer's. We're just looking for a strongfinish to get some more points and continue on our hunt for theChampionship."

Andretti Pict#6 Kmart/Texaco/Havoline
Swift Ford Cosworth XD
[After Saturday's Practice Session]: "I didn't have any rear brakes so I just went into the run-off area. The right rear was smoking, so I thought there was a leak. Once I came back to the pits, they determined that it was a leak."

[After Saturday's Qualifying Session]: "We couldn't improve the car much from provisional qualifying. We also had a big problem when the gear shifter broke. It was the first time it's happened. It's not a big thing. It was just bad timing. The bracket that supports it came unattached from the tub. We also had too much wheel spin and couldn't get the power down. That's a common problem at street courses because of the bumps. It's the same for everyone. It's definitely going to be challenging to get to the front on this tight circuit. It should be an exciting race."

Unser Pict#2 Marlboro
Penske Mercedes
"My Marlboro car is still loose on the front end so we picked up understeer and then I hit traffic. It's not what we hoped for, but we've got the warm-up session tomorrow morning to make the car more comfortable for the race. We definitely made some gains overnight and we're hoping to make the same amount of gains for tomorrow. If we can have a good, clean race and some quick pit stops don't count us out when the checkered flag falls."

Pruett Pict#20 Brahma Sports Team
Reynard Ford
"We said it was going to be an exciting show and I guess we were right. It is very unfortunate. We were the fastest this morning and I was really looking forward to qualifying. Something happened to the engine. We don't know what yet. The Brahma guys did a great job getting Raul's back-up car ready for me. We had to change a lot of parts in a hurry. We changed the springs, shocks and bars. There are a lot of different parts. I also have to thank Raul for letting me use his back-up car. We gave it all we had."

C. Fittipaldi Pict#11 Kmart/Budweiser
Swift Ford
Newman/Haas Racing
"The gear box stuck in second gear. I wasn't going for the pole but I think we could have done a 36.5 [second-lap] which would have put us closer to the front. I did a 37.0 in traffic. That's really important here. I hoped to be in the top four positions. The cars are always better in the race. We learned quite a lot today that will hopefully give the Australian fans their money's worth."

Papis Pict#25 MCI
Arciero Wells
Reynard Toyota
" This is the first session we have run this weekend where we haven't had any problems. We improved our car and our position on the grid. I owe a lot of thanks to the Arciero-Wells mechanics for the tremendous job they did with all of the engine changes. I hope their hard work will result in a strong finish in the race."

Herta Pict#8 Shell
Reynard Ford
Team Rahal
"The track kept getting better and better. Unfortunately, we were in the first session. It's tough sitting there in the pits and watching your name fall down the qualifying list. I thought our car improved a lot on Saturday. But the track got more and more grip in it as qualifying went on. The race is a different story. You have to have a consistent car. I think we can have one for the race."

Johnstone Pict#27 Team Kool Green
Reynard Honda
"We made some huge changes to the car and that's the first time we've done that as a team. The problem with qualifying is that we did some tuning, but we haven't yet optimized the car's basic package. So it came down to the end of the session, and we threw a new set of tires on the car and went for a time. That last lap was one of the best laps I've turned in a long time. It felt great."

Zanardi Pict#4 Target
Chip Ganassi Racing
Reynard Honda
"To break a record like this is an incredible achievement. When I think about where I was two years ago [without a ride], I feel very, very satisfied at what we have accomplished. Now we have to go after the consecutive wins record. That's what pays more points."

"It was a pretty dramatic lap for me. I had a big margin from yesterday [Friday, when Zanardi earned the provisional pole by more than a full mile per hour], which I thought I could count on, but I knew these guys were tough and that I'd have to work hard today."

"I knew I had no time left and that I had to do it at that point. When I came to Turn 11, I brushed the wall and lost a little bit of time. But it was enough today, and I was a little bit lucky, also."

Ribeiro Pict#31 LCI International
Lola Honda
Tasman Motorsports Group
[After Saturday's Practice Session]: "We are still learning about the car, but it is better today. The main problem is still the same-the rear end. We are making a lot of changes to find a solution for the back. It is slowly improving."

[After Saturday's Qualifying Session]: "It was a difficult session for us. We had a small problem and weren't able to get the most out of the our first set of tires, and we really weren't able to do what we wanted on the second run. We haven't been able to progress as quickly as the others and we are basically one practice session behind"

Fernandez Pict#32 Tecate Beer/Quaker State
Lola Honda
Tasman Motorsports Group
[After Saturday's Practice Session]: "The car is improving and the track is actually a little better today. The car had a good balance, maybe not as good as we want, but better than yesterday. Hopefully, we will be able to improve a few positions during the qualifying."

[After Saturday's Qualifying Session]: "We were doing okay until something broke in the front suspension. It really put us out of a second try for a good starting position. Now we have to concentrate on the race and find out what the problem is with the suspension."

de Ferran Pict#5 Valvoline/Cummins/Craftsman Special
Reynard Ford
[After Saturday's Practice Session]: "This was a very productive session for us. We were able to try a lot of different things on the car, which should help on our qualifying set-up. The balance on the car is very good. We ran this session without putting any new tires on, so I think that we'll be in good shape for this afternoon."

[After Saturday's Qualifying Session]: "I'm a bit disappointed. We were hoping for a better starting position. I guess we'll have to work more on the car set-up, the balance isn't all of the way there yet. At a place like this you'll never have a perfect car, but right now we really need to improve a bit."

Rahal Pict#7 Miller Lite
Reynard Ford
Team Rahal
"I got blocked on my last lap and that might have moved me up a few positions. I banged my left elbow pretty hard inside the cockpit trying to drive through the chicanes. Man, that's a wild ride if you hit the berms wrong. We're getting better on applying the power to the ground out of the corners. That's the key to this place. It's slippery most of the time. But the track's getting better grip."

Hiro Pict#24 Panasonic/DUSKIN
Arciero/Wells Racing, Reynard Toyota
"The aerodynamic and mechanical changes the crew made last night havehelped considerably. The car does not feel sluggish through the slowcorners, although it is still pushing a little. We are quicker atthe entry and able to carry more speed. At the exit, the handling ismuch easier, plus I can get on the power much quicker without a lotof wheel spin. Although we are still working on the last series ofcorners, the handling is much more stable now."

"We've been making all the right steps in our set-up changes, which is reflected in our quicker time. The car is getting more stable at both ends of the circuit. I can carry more speed into the entry, and open the throttle a little bit earlier with each wing adjustment we make. Definitely we are working in the right direction. But obviously we still need more speed and more time on the track. Now we are paying for Friday's mishaps. However, I am confident this progressive trend will continue in tomorrow's warm up."

PJ Pict#98 Castrol/Jockey
AAR Racing
Reynard Toyota
"I think I have a good car for the race. I should have run one more lap on the first set of tires, they were just a little better than the second set. I think Juan had the same problem because he ran his quick time right away. We changed some things after the practice session and the car was a little quicker."

Fangio Pict#36 Castrol/Jockey
AAR Racing
Reynard Toyota
"I think it was excellent chassis-wise. We lost the morning session because the changes we made caused us to have pick-up on the tires. We just need to make a couple of changes tonight and I think I'll have a good race car."

AL SPEYERBridgestone/Firestone Motorsports Manager
"This is a really, really great qualifying result for Firestone. Congratulations to Alex Zanardi and the Target/Chip Ganassi organization. We're pleased Alex was able to break the record held by such well-known racing names as Mario Andretti and Danny Sullivan."