Tecate Monterrey Grand Prix Race Report - 2001

4/3/2001 7:37:14 PM

Honda Racing Report
Sunday, March 11, 2001

Race Report
Tecate Monterrey Grand Prix
Circuit:Fundadora Park (2.1 mile street circuit), Monterrey, Mexico
2000 Winner:N/A (inaugural race)
Weather:Hazy, humid, 77-degrees F

Race Results:

Fn.

St.

Driver

Manufacturer

Laps

Average Speed/Notes

1.

2.

Cristiano da Matta

Toytoa

78

81.548 mph

2.

3.

Gil de Ferran

Honda

78

-1.982 seconds

3.

15.

Paul Tracy

Honda

78

-2.802 seconds

4.

5.

Michael Andretti

Honda

78

-4.931 seconds

5.

1.

Kenny Brack

Ford Cosworth

78

-5.411 seconds

6.

9.

Jimmy Vasser

Toyota

78

-5.710 seconds

7.

12.

Tony Kanaan

Honda

78

-6.375 seconds

8.

4.

Helio Castroneves

Honda

78

-7.244 seconds

9.

7.

Dario Franchitti

Honda

78

-7.580 seconds

10.

25.

Tora Takagi

Toyota

78

-17.457 seconds

11.

21.

Nicholas Minassian

Toyota

78

-24.277 seconds

12.

11.

Max Papis

Ford Cosworth

78

-24.981 seconds

18.

27.

Shinji Nakano

Honda

76

Running

19.

19.

Adrian Fernandez

Honda

75

Not running - fuel

24.

22.

Alex Zanardi

Honda

39

Not running - contact

De Ferran Fights Flu, Finishes Second

Honda drivers both old and new claimed three of the top five finishing positions in today's inaugural Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix, run in front of a sellout crowd of just over 100,000 fans.

Despite battling dehydration from a case of stomach flu, Marlboro Team Penske's Gil de Ferran began his title defense today with a second place finish, less than two seconds behind fellow Brazilian Cristiano da Matta. Putting on arguably the drive of the race, Team KOOL Green's Paul Tracy stormed up from the seventh row of the grid to finish third, passing seven cars in the first ten laps alone. And making his Champ Car debut with Honda power, former series champion Michael Andretti finished fourth today for his new Team Motorola effort.

Dario Franchitti also had a strong outing, setting fastest lap of the race and leading four laps until a pit lane speeding penalty dropped him to a ninth place finish. Helio Castroneves ran third in the opening laps, but later lost the use of fourth gear and fell back to finish eighth.

In his first race with the new Fernandez Racing team, Shinji Nakano survived a collision with Alex Zanardi and his own pit lane penalty to finish 18th. Team owner and home-country megastar Adrian Fernandez gambled on making only one pit stop, but came up three laps short of making the finish. Finally, another returning former champion, Zanardi, was one of the quickest cars in the field following the first round of pit stops, but was forced to drop out on the 39th lap after making contact with Nakano while attempting a pass in the turn two hairpin.

Driver's Championship (after 1 of 21 races)

Manufacturer's Championship

1. Cristiano da Matta

22 points

1.Toyota

21 points

2. Gil de Ferran

16

2. Honda

16

3. Paul Tracy

14

3. Ford

11

4. Michael Andretti

12

4. Phoenix-Ilmor

0

5. Kenny Brack

11

.

.

6. Jimmy Vasser

8

.

.

7. Tony Kanaan

6

.

.

8. Helio Castroneves

5

Rookie of the Year

9. Dario Franchitti

4

1. Tora Takagi

3 points

10. Tora Takagi

3

2. Nicholas Minassian

2

11. Nicholas Minassian

2

3. Scott Dixon

0

12. Max Papis

1

4. Bruno Junequeira

0

Quotes from the top three Honda-powered finishers in today's race:

Gil de Ferran (#2 Marlboro Team Penske Honda) Defending CART FedEx Series Champion started 3rd and finished 2nd today: "I'm very pleased about the way things went today. It's unfortunate that I became sick, I haven't been able to eat anything since Saturday morning and I was really feeling bad. Once I got in the car, all of the enthusiasm from the great fans in Mexico kept me going. Second place is a great result for us considering the circumstances. I'm certainly not 100% right now."

Paul Tracy (#26 Team KOOL Green Honda) Started 15th, finished 3rd: "I'm real pleased with the job the team did this weekend. We got a little bit behind on Friday when I crashed, and as a result didn't qualify all that well. But the car was good in the race and I was able to make some passes, make some things happen out there. It was good racing today."

Michael Andretti (#39 Team Motorola Honda) Started 5th, finished 4th: "It was really slippery and the track was breaking up in turn 12. You had to be really careful because it was like ice out there. It was pretty much a one-line track and passing was a problem. But fourth is pretty good with a brand new team and all. Coming out of the pits, we were boxed in by one of the Ganassi cars and Paul got by me, and also Brack, which is disappointing because other than that, Paul would have had a hard time getting by me. So all in all, first race, new team, new car and engine package, we'll take the fourth place points."