Saturday, Oct. 28, 2000 | 3:26 a.m.
FONTANA, Calif. -- Gil de Ferran posted the fastest lap in closed-course racing history in winning the pole for Sunday's CART Marlboro 500 at California Speedway.
De Ferran posted a record-shattering lap of 241.428 mph on the 2-mile superspeedway to knock Michael Andretti off the pole and eclipse Mauricio Gugelmin's 1997 record of 240.942 mph.
"The car was spot on -- it had zero understeer and my Firestone tire really delivered," de Ferran said. "I don't know how I could have improved on that lap."
De Ferran earned a point for winning the pole and now leads Adrian Fernandez by six points in the championship going into Sunday's 250-lap season finale. Fernandez qualified 14th.
"Obviously, we're very happy to be in this position," de Ferran said of winning the pole. "The most important thing is to have the extra point (for winning the pole) because you never know when you'll need it."
Andretti will start on the outside of the front row with a qualifying speed of 239.097 mph. Christian Fittipaldi (239.073) will start third, Helio Castroneves (239.011) fourth and Juan Montoya (237.688) fifth.
"The car was just OK," Andretti said after being bumped off the pole. "I was hoping to be a little bit quicker but I had too much understeer. The pole would have been nice; I haven't had a pole on an oval since 1992."
Jimmy Vasser led the quartet of Las Vegas residents by qualifying sixth with a speed of 237.217 mph. Paul Tracy, who remains in contention for the series championship, will start ninth, Alex Tagliani will start 10th and Patrick Carpentier 11th.
Roberto Moreno was eliminated from the championship battle when he qualified 19th. Moreno needed to win the pole in order to remain in the hunt for the title.