Team Player's drivers Tagliani and Carpentier to start Rockingham 500 alongside each other on row 5. Corby, England, September 13, 2002 Alex Tagliani topped the leader board in Friday's practice run but the Team Player's driver was unable ...
Team Player's drivers Tagliani and Carpentier to start Rockingham 500 alongside each other on row 5.
Corby, England, September 13, 2002 Alex Tagliani topped the leader board in Friday's practice run but the Team Player's driver was unable to carry that momentum into the qualifying session a few hours later as he took the 9th position on the starting grid for Saturday's Rockingham 500. The race, which is the 15th of 19 on the FedEx CART Championship schedule, is the only European stop on the CART circuit in 2002.
Patrick Carpentier of Team Player's, who was fifth in practice, qualified on the same Row 5 as his teammate. Carpentier's efforts to improve his first-lap qualifying time were stymied by electrical problem that eventually had the effect of overheating the engine and affecting the pop-off valve.
The fast lap of 24.811 seconds (average speed of 214.598 mph) that Tagliani clocked in practice turned out to be the fastest of the day. In winning the pole, Sweden's Kenny Brack toured the 1.479-mile Rockingham oval in 24.908 seconds (213.763 mph), just 2 one-hundredths of a second faster than Michael Andretti of the United States.
"We had a clean run but for some reason the car didn't have that much power, and the car ran flat," said Tagliani, whose best time was 25.158 seconds, for an average speed of 211.638 mph (340.598 km/h). "We don't need to change the set-ups for tomorrow because the set-ups are very good. What we need to do is find out where the power has gone, because you need a lot of power on this track to be able to run up front. The Team Player's engineers are going to take a good look at the data to try to solve the power problem."
Carpentier sensed that his car wasn't running smoothly when he turned some slow warm-up laps. On his first qualifying lap, he made his way around the circuit in 25.182 seconds (average speed of 211.437 mph (340.274 km/h), the sixth-fastest time of 14 drivers who had qualified at that point.
"The engine just got overheated," explained Carpentier. "The temperature got up to 149-150 degrees, well above the normal rate. It was tough racing down the front straight. Overall, the car was good, maybe a bit loose in turn 4, but it wasn't running flat. Then, on the second lap, the pop-off valve opened between corners 1 and 2, and we lost all the revs. There are no problems with the set-ups; it was just a case of not having the chance to post a good time. We should be fine for tomorrow."
In stark contrast to last year's race weekend at Rockingham, when inclement weather and a soggy track led to cancelled practice and qualifying sessions and a shortened race, a radiant sun shone down on the drivers on Friday, and the forecast is the same for Saturday's 211-lap race.
Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the Rockingham 500 by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race live on The Sports Network starting at 8:30 a.m. ET on Saturday.