Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier comes from "far back" to earn row 4 spot on Grand Prix of Denver starting grid. Denver, Colorado, August 31, 2002 Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier made some major strides in Saturday's final ...
Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier comes from "far back" to earn row 4 spot on Grand Prix of Denver starting grid.
Denver, Colorado, August 31, 2002 Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier made some major strides in Saturday's final qualifying session, clocking a fast lap that was 2.6 seconds faster than the previous day and securing the 8th position on the starting grid for the first-ever Grand Prix of Denver. Carpentier's teammate Alex Tagliani also moved up the grid in today's qualifying run, trimming 2.1 seconds off his provisional time to earn a spot on Row 6.
Brazil's Bruno Junqueira recorded the fastest lap of the Saturday session to win his third pole of the season. Provisional pole-sitter Adrian Fernandez of Mexico will start alongside him, while Fernandez's teammate Shinji Nakano sits third, the best starting position of his career in the CART series.
Carpentier, whose car did plenty of slipping and sliding on the slick and bumpy 1.65-mile street course in Friday's first qualifying session, continued to struggle in the morning practice run Saturday. But the Team Player's crew, led by his engineer Mike Cannon, worked feverishly to come up with some solutions.
"My hat goes off to Mike and the team because we were nowhere in the morning practice and we were able to come from far back to find those 2.6 seconds and that was good for 10 places on the grid," said Carpentier. "We saw that Alex (Tagliani) had a stiff car yesterday and we decided to go a bit stiffer than Tag's car. Mike did a great job coming up with this solution because I was finding it difficult to explain to him what the car was doing on the track since it was bouncing around all over the place."
While Carpentier's spirits were boosted by the strong qualifying performance, he expects that Sunday's 100-lap race on the Denver street course - whose bumpy surface has been likened to riding over a series of speed bumps will be a battle of attrition. Carpentier predicted that the high altitude will take a toll on both the cars and drivers. "If someone is still out there on the track at the end, he'll probably end up on the podium," stated Carpentier.
Tagliani said that his strategy, starting from 12th on the grid, is to try to stay away from trouble and keep the car out there for 100 laps because "it's the type of race where you can probably be in a position to contend if you stay patient and are able to avoid any incidents. We saw today in qualifying that engines were overheating very quickly because of the thin air, so what is it going to be like for 100 laps?"
Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the Grand Prix of Denver throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race on tape delay on The Sports Network starting at 8:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.