Race No. 2

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

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


Vasser Pict#1 Target
Chip Ganassi Racing
Reynard Honda
"Gugelmin hit me in the back and I pinballed off the wall on both sides. It broke a valve stem on the left front and I had to pit. After that it was just hard work; put your head down and try to get a point."

Moore Pict#99 Forsythe
Reynard Mercedes-Benz
"Finishing second here today is about like a dream come true for us. We had only 100 miles on the car when we came here, and the guys just worked so hard to get the car ready. Without their effort, I wouldn't be here."

Tracy Pict#3 Marlboro
Penske Mercedes
"It's a real shame our day had to end this way. The Marlboro crew really worked hard to give me the best car out there which we demonstrated by leading the most laps (21). I was able to get through two incidents. At the start of the race I brushed the tire wall in the second chicane and bent the left front suspension so we restarted in our back-up car. Then after my first pit stop, Parker collided with me while I was leaving the pits and bent my right front track rod; but fortunately the car was still driveable.

On lap 41, I was passing the #64 car [Arnd Meier] entering the chicane and had to go through it to get by. When I came through I was a couple of car lengths ahead of Zanardi and he tried to outbrake me. He was having a hard time trying to make the corner so I was able to get back inside of him at the next corner. As soon as he saw me, he came across my right front and spun himself out and damaged my right front suspension enough to take me out of the race."

Andretti Pict#6 Kmart/Texaco/Havoline
Swift Ford Cosworth XD
"The car performed pretty good today. What hurt us was our starting position more than anything else. Had we started higher up, I think we would have been in contention."

Pruett Pict#20 Brahma Sports Team
Reynard Ford
"We made the right choice on tires. We gambled a little bit when we changed to Firestone's optional tire and withdrew our qualifying effort (from Friday), but we knew the optional tire would be more durable. Our tires were perfect all day long. In fact, for awhile before that last stop we made, we considered leaving the tires on the car to save time. but we wound up changing and it worked out."

Blundell Pict#18 PacWest Motorola
Reynard Mercedes
"I went down the outside of Herta to get to the inside of the following left-hander, and basically Johnstone came down the inside of both of us to try to make two moves in one sweep, which is not conducive to a good overtaking move. He spun right in front of me and left me nowhere to go. We then came back and pulled some points out of the bag."

C. Fittipaldi Pict#11 Kmart/Budweiser
Swift Ford
Newman/Haas Racing
"I remember everything. De Ferran hit me from behind and I hit the wall in front of the pit, at the beginning of the pit straight. The second hit was compeletely unbelievable. I went in head-on. I couldn't feel anything in my right leg, so I was pretty worried. My painkillers are wearing off, but they won't give me more because I'm having surgery."

Papis Pict#25 MCI
Arciero Wells
Reynard Toyota
"We had a fantastic car. For the second part of the race the car was perfectly balanced. I preserved the tires in the beginning and we were running perfect. The only problem is that we don't have enough horsepower to compete with anyone else in the field, but by finishing the race we had a great chance to learn more. What we achieved today is fantastic. Finishing the race is a great present for the crew. I hope that this will encourage all of the people at Toyota to become stronger for the future."

Herta Pict#8 Shell
Reynard Ford
Team Rahal
"My team did a great job on their strategy because we pitted early to get an advantage on the next yellow flag. And that's exactly what happened. Unfortunately, my tires were fading when I was in third and I slid off into the run-off area. But I could run in the pack in about eighth. Then, all of a sudden, Parker came out of nowhere and hit me in the left side. I have no idea where he came from. It was just 'boom' and I was out. We were in a good position again for the next yellow but we never got to it. We never really have good luck here. That's a shame. I love coming down to Surfers. The people are great and it's a great place to visit."

Zanardi Pict#4 Target
Chip Ganassi Racing
Reynard Honda
"At the end of the race, the car was shaking so badly from flat-spotted tires that I could hardly see."

[On the incident with Tracy]: "I thought I had the race handed to me on a silver platter when he cut the chicane, but I wasn't sure if he would be penalized. So I had to use the opportunity to pass Paul. I had to break very late to pass him and then he got a good run at me as we exited the corner. After that, I think I need to see the TV replay. I want to give Paul the benefit of the doubt because I could not feel a hard hit and the track is very bumpy there. It is possible to spin just from the bumps. Coming back to fourth after such an exciting race gives me great satisfaction."

Ribeiro Pict#31 LCI International
Lola Honda
Tasman Motorsports Group
"The car was very consistent at the end and the balance was good. We had more oversteer which was just starting to get worse. There was so much happening during the race. I was just trying to stay clear of everything on the track. We were running in fourth when the first white flag came out. On the last lap, Zanardi was definitely quicker and went inside of me on Turn Nine. We touched and I went sideways. Both Zanardi and De Ferran passed me. Today definitely helps our confidence going into Long Beach. We still have work to do as far as the car goes, but we are getting better and better."

"We are definitely making progress with the Lola. The car was better today than it had been all weekend, but we still have a ways to go. On the last lap, I was running third but Zanardi was definitely quicker. He got inside of me at Turn 9, we touched wheels a little bit and I got sideways and de Ferran got by me as well."

Fernandez Pict#32 Tecate Beer/Quaker State
Lola Honda
Tasman Motorsports Group
"At the start the car felt very good. I was behind Andre and we were running very close together. I made a move to pass Franchitti. He tapped me with his left front wing and it was enough to puncture my right rear tire. The car wasn't the same after that."

de Ferran Pict#5 Valvoline/Cummins/Craftsman Special
Reynard Ford
[On the accident with Christian Fittipaldi]: "It was an unfortunate accident. Knowing that Christian is hurt doesn't make me feel any better about what happened. I hope that he recovers quickly."

[About the race]: "The car was great. The guys did an absolutely fantastic job getting the back-up car ready to go. It was tough to get into a race mind-set after what happened with Christian. Once the green flag dropped, I was ready to race and concentrated on a good, clean effort. I'm happy to finish in the points for the first time this season."

Rahal Pict#7 Miller Lite
Reynard Ford
Team Rahal
"It's disappointing because I felt I had the car to go to the front. The car just couldn't put the power to the ground. I had understeer and then the rear end was loose. Plus I stalled it once in the pits and lost some spots. It was a pretty wild race where I was sitting. It always seems to get like that here."

Gugelmin Pict#17 Hollywood
Reynard Ford
"I just made a mistake. I was running pretty strong toward the end and going for a win. I was trying everything, since I had a good car. As I was passing Jimmy, the back end just locked up and that was it. I T-boned him and it was my mistake. When you're going for it, these things happen."

PJ Pict#98 Castrol/Jockey
AAR Racing
Reynard Toyota
"We still need a little more power down the straights. We were running pretty good at the start of the race. We got around a few cars and the car felt pretty good. It just didn't feel the same after the restart and finally the motor just gave out."

Fangio Pict#36 Castrol/Jockey
AAR Racing
Reynard Toyota
"Overall, I was pleased with the car. We lost a little bit on Saturday morning but it was good for qualifying. I was very pleased with my team this weekend, they did a great job. My race engine was definitely better than the qualifying one. I was very comfortable during the race, but the engine gave up. We'll just have to get ready for Long Beach."