RAIN WIPES OUT TEST DAY AT GERMAN 500
LAUSITZ, Germany--Daylong rains forced cancellation of
Thursday's scheduled test sessions for the inaugural German 500, Round 16 of
the FedEx Championship Series, on the two-mile EuroSpeedway oval.
Weather permitting, Friday's activities will begin with a two-hour Champ Car
practice session at 9:30 a.m. local time, followed by a one-hour afternoon
session at 1:30 p.m. local time. CART competition officials made the
decision to forego qualifying in the interest of giving teams and drivers
more on-track experience at EuroSpeedway, a brand new FedEx Championship
Series venue where no Champ Car drivers have ever competed.
The starting grid for Saturday's race will be based on championship points.
Defending FedEx Championship Series champion Gil de Ferran (Honda/Reynard)
of Team Penske will sit on the pole, alongside Kenny Brack (Shell Ford-Cosworth/Lola)
of Team Rahal.
De Ferran leads the FedEx Championship Series with 115 points. He will
receive credit for a career pole position, his 14th, but will not receive
the championship point that is awarded for a pole earned on the race track.
Brack and reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves (Honda/Reynard) of Team Penske are tied for second place in the championship with
110 points, but Brack earns the tie-breaker based on higher race finishes.
Michael Andretti (Motorola Honda/Reynard) of Team Motorola, who stands
fourth in the championship with 103 points, is the only driver who has not
yet arrived at the Lausitzring due to travel restrictions in the United
States. Andretti, CART's all-time victory leader (41), is in his hometown of
Nazareth, Pa., and has a private plane on standby for departure as soon as
the Federal Aviation Administration allows travel. Arrangements have also
been made to fly him commercially if that is the first option.
Following the cancellation of Thursday's activities, CART conducted a
one-hour, All-Driver Autograph Session for the several thousands of fans who
were in attendance.
The German 500 is Round 16 of 21 in the 2001 FedEx Championship Series. The
series visits seven countries and four continents during the season and
climaxes with the season-ending Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota on Sunday,
Nov. 4, at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Thanks to a partnership
between Marlboro, Toyota, CART and California Speedway, the winner of the
season finale will collect $1 million, one of the richest paydays in all of
motorsports. Christian Fittipaldi (Kmart Toyota/Lola) of Newman/Haas Racing
is the defending event champion. An additional $1 million, as well as the
prestigious Vanderbilt Cup, will be awarded to the driver who wins the FedEx
Championship Series championship.