CLEVELAND, Ohio (June 29, 2001) - Cristiano da Matta (Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota) was fastest in both the morning and afternoon sessions, turning a fast lap of almost 131 mph in Friday practice for Sunday's Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland - the eighth round for the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series.
Da Matta, in his third season with Toyota power, was fast off the track in his efforts to improve on his third-place finish at Cleveland a year ago. He currently sits fourth overall in the CART points race for Newman-Haas Racing.
A pair of Toyota-powered veterans also placed in the overall top 10 on Friday. Mauricio Gugelmin (Nextel Toyota), coming off his best run of the season at Portland, placed eighth overall, while Christian Fittipaldi (Kmart Toyota), one of the hottest drivers on the circuit, was ninth.
Qualifying for Sunday's feature event is set to begin Saturday at 1:45 (EST). Sunday's Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland is scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. local time (EST) and will be aired live by ABC.
Cristiano da Matta, #6 Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota: "The car was good out of the box today. We're still trying to make a few changes to go faster. The Toyota power was very good. The car was a little better this morning. Of course, you don't get points for today, but we tested a lot of different things and we're happy."
Toyota Drivers Overall - Day 1 Place. Driver 1. Cristiano da Matta 8. Mauricio Gugelmin 9. Christian Fittipaldi 12. Scott Dixon 14. Jimmy Vasser 18. Tora Takagi 20. Memo Gidley 21. Bruno Junqueira 26. Roberto Moreno