CHAMPCAR/CART: Fastest in first Mid-Ohio practice? Da Matta again

The CART Champ Cars opened their Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio weekend this morning with a 1.5-hour practice session on the 2.258-mile permanent road course. Cristiano da Matta led the times, with Christian Fittipaldi and Toranosuke Takagi setting the...

The CART Champ Cars opened their Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio weekend this morning with a 1.5-hour practice session on the 2.258-mile permanent road course. Cristiano da Matta led the times, with Christian Fittipaldi and Toranosuke Takagi setting the second and third fastest times on their last lap of the period. Most of the drivers took a turn at the top of the time chart in the first hour as the fast times were whittled down from about 69 seconds down to da Matta's best of 1:07.695 (120.080 mph.), set with 25 minutes remaining in the session.

Practice was interrupted three times by red flags. The first stoppage happened with about 40 minutes remaining when Dario Franchitti spun exiting turn 1 and backed his car into the tire wall. The second break came when Alexandre Tagliani spun off under braking for turn 11 with only 18 minutes left. Then, with only seven minutes left, Shinji Nakano put his Lola into the same bank of tires where Tagliani had landed earlier

After Tagliani's Reynard was removed from the gravel, the session resumed with nearly all the cars on course - even Franchitti's team got his car back on track, although a front wing was borrowed from his teammate's similar Lola. Unfortunately, no one got the chance to make a big improvement before Nakano's off. The last segment, only three minutes long, did allow some of the drivers to set a faster time, but da Matta's earlier fast time stood as the best in the session.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Christian Fittipaldi , Dario Franchitti , Shinji Nakano , Cristiano da Matta , Toranosuke Takagi