Indianapolis: Qualifying summary

Surprise poll-sitters for Porsche Michelin Supercup races at Indy. INDIANAPOLIS, September 27, 2002 - The two drivers contesting the year-end points championship for the 2002 Porsche Michelin Supercup will have to fight from the rear in both races ...

Indianapolis: Qualifying summary

Surprise poll-sitters for Porsche Michelin Supercup races at Indy.

INDIANAPOLIS, September 27, 2002 - The two drivers contesting the year-end points championship for the 2002 Porsche Michelin Supercup will have to fight from the rear in both races - scheduled for Saturday and Sunday - as neither qualified on the front row for either race.

In today's first qualifying session, held to determine the starting positions for tomorrow's race, 22 year-old Austrialian Alexander Davison captured his first pole ever in his Software AG/Manthey Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racer. Former CART star Allesandro Zampedri, from Brescia, Italy was second, while FIA-GT veteran Philipp Peter, from Austria, was third - all in identical Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars.

The two drivers who still have a chance to win the season points title - Stephane Ortelli, form Monte Carlo, Monaco, and Marco Werner, from Kreuzlingen, Germany - qualified seventh and tenth respectively for Saturday's event. Because of the evenly-matched driver talent and racing equipment, it is very difficult to climb up to the podium position from those starting spots.

Ortelli has 140 points, with Werner in second place with 116. If Ortelii wins or finishes second on Saturday, he clinches the year-end title no matter where Werner finishes, but if Werner could win on Saturday, and Ortelli has difficulties, the title would go down to Sunday's race.

Speaking of Sunday, the Porsche Michelin Supercup field also qualified today for the season finale to be held just before the Formula I event. In that session. German Wolf Henzler grabbed the pole, with American Le Mans Series star Timo Bernhard second and Ortelli third.

Guest drivers Bill Adam, from Miami, Florida - a racing TV anchor - and Antonio Sabato, Jr., model and actor from Marina del Rey, California, both improved their times considerably from the morning practice session, but could not keep up with the professional European drivers. Adam qualified 14th and 17th for the two races, while Sabato was 22nd and 21st.

Of the 26 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars - all technically identical - two are reserved for guest drivers at each race. Last year, Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish, Jr., and road racer David Donahue took those guest spots, with Al Unser, Jr. and ALMS star Randy Pobst filling the slots in 2000. Pobst had the highest finish among the Indy guest drivers sofar with a fifth-place finish. Other American drivers who have raced for private teams at Indy since 2000 include Mario Andretti and Indianapolis TV producer Terry Lingner.

In addition to racing at Indianapolis, the Porsche Michelin Supercup,now in its 10th season, accompanies Formula One to 10 European events and is the only GT racing series to run exclusively as a support series to theFormula One World Championship. Races are approximately 43.5 miles (70 km).

All Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars are equipped with a 3.6-literengines that produce 380 horsepower and can travel from 0-62 mph (0-100km/h) in less than four seconds. With the exception of the guest cars, which are prepared by the Porsche factory, all the entries are private teams which own their cars and hire professional drivers. The Porsche factory has built 131 of these cars in 2002 for Porsche racing customers around the world, including entries in the Porsche Carrera Cup in Europe and The Speed Channel World Challenge and Grand-Am Cup series in the U.S. The current 911 GT3 Cup car is the fourth generation Cup car, with the original Carrera 2 Cup car producing 265 horsepower when it was introduced in 1990.

The Porsche Michelin Supercup, the world's fastest international single-marque sports car series, will race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as a support event during the SAP United States Grand Prix. Two rounds of the Porsche Michelin Supercup once again will take place on the Speedway's 2.606-mile Grand Prix circuit during the SAP United States Grand Prix, at 3 p.m. (EST) Saturday, Sept. 28, and 9:20 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 29.

Two Porsche Supercup events also took place during last year's Grand Prix, with Sascha Maassen of Germany winning Sept. 29 by 0.3 of a second over Jorg Bergmeister, also of Germany, who clinched the season title with his second-place finish. On Sept. 30, Bergmeister returned the favor by finishing three seconds ahead of Maassen for the victory.

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