Havoline driver da Matta to start third in Sure for Men 500 in England; Lilly driver Fittipaldi qualified 12th. CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, ...
Havoline driver da Matta to start third in Sure for Men 500 in England; Lilly driver Fittipaldi qualified 12th.
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Lilly Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone: "The car was much better than this morning but we still had too much push in Turn four. I was wide open most of the time except for a small lift coming out of Turn four. We changed a lot of things and they helped a lot but it was not enough. We could have been more neutral. We came off the airplane - not the truck - not as good as the other cars or as neutral as we should have and worked our way up from there. The car felt slow in qualifying. I don't know if it was because I wasn't in the turbulence of running in the middle of the zoo in the draft. There was nothing left in the car though. We were maxed out."
* NOTES: Will be his second Champ car race here. Started 13th in 2001 (based on pt. standings due to rain) but retired in 24th place due to drive train failure. He is currently 5th place in the point standings.
CRISTIANO DA MATTA, #6 Havoline Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone: "That was almost everything I could get out of the car. The run was smooth and clean. In turns one, two and three I was easily flat out but I had a minor lift in Turn four. That's probably the part of the track where the others are able to go faster than us. I'm happy with the work the team has done. Not only one 1.5-mile ovals but also throughout the year. Coming here, I had a little bit of a question mark so to run good this morning was a big relief. I'm happy that guys that I am fighting against for the Championship are behind me. Before today, I had memories of feelings of last year's car but the car was completely, completely different. To run well here proves that we figured out our oval setup. It didn't fall into our laps - we all had to work hard to make the improvements that we have made. I have a lot to lose with the Championship up for grabs. I feel that everybody in the team is trying to be conservative but yet trying to win races still. It will be a long race so those are always difficult. For me, I have to concentrate on making it to the end. With the position I am in, I have to finish the race no matter what."
* NOTES: Has had eight front row starts in 15 races this season. He has won EIGHT of past 16 CART events dating back to his first three-peat (Australia and Fontana in 2001 and Mexico in 2002) where he became the first driver to accomplish the feat since Juan Montoya (1999). Wins in Laguna Seca, Portland, Chicago and Toronto enabled him to tie two others (Unser, Jr., and Zanardi) with a CART record four consecutive wins. His win three races ago in Elkhart Lake was his eighth in 14 races. Will be his second event at the track. Started in eighth place in 2001 (based on point standings) and finished third after a post race protest due to an illegal pass made by Helio Castroneves while exiting the pits. He is currently leading the standings with a total of 175 points (52 over second place).
ON TAP FOR TOMORROW: The morning warm-up will take place from 9:30-10 AM local time tomorrow with the Sure for Men 500 set to begin at 1:30.