CHAMPCAR/CART: Fittipaldi, da Matta Mid-Ohio qualifying

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, ...

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Kmart Toyota-Lola: "After running the fourth fastest time yesterday, we didn't make many gains today like other guys did and dropped to ninth fastest in qualifying. This is the type of race track that keeps getting better and better the longer we run on it and lay rubber down and you can't let yourself be fooled into thinking the car is getting better even if you are going faster because the reason could be simply that the track is getting quicker instead of your car. After we ran in the morning session, we knew we weren't where we should be. We qualified the best we could given the way the car is handling. We just need to work on our race set-up and make the most out of the car we have for the race.

ON ACCOMODATIONS WHILE AT MID-OHIO: "It's nice to come to this race not only because I like the track but also because my father or mother and sister usually come and we all stay at a house one mile from the track. It's much more relaxing than staying in a hotel since we are in them so much during the year."

· NOTE: Is currently 55 points back from first place in the point standings in 11th place with 49 to leader Kenny Brack, 104. Ran third fastest lap in the morning session and fourth quickest in the afternoon session despite utilizing only one set of tires rather than the usual two sets. Hopes to improve on last year's third place finish, which was his best ever at Mid-Ohio in five starts. Suffered engine failure in 1995; finished seventh in 1996; suffered transmission failure in 1997; finished 13th in 1998 after the team struggled; did not compete in 1999 after he suffered a subdural hemitoma from a testing accident caused by a gearbox failure; finished third in 2000 after starting fifth.

CRISTIANO da MATTA, #6 Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota-Lola: "The car feels a lot better than yesterday but we are still not up front. I don't know if everyone else has picked up more grip. The Penske's are on a completely different level. There is one-half of a second between us and third place and they (the Penske's) are a full second quicker than us. We are struggling to find one-tenth of a second, imagine how hard it is to find one full second. "

· NOTE: Only 37 points out of first place in the CART standings in fifth with 67 points to leader Kenny Brack who has 104. Will be his third Champ car race at Mid-Ohio and first with NHR. Da Matta finished 17 last season after starting seventh as a result of contact with Tracy and Kanaan. Finished 9th in 1999. Has been strong on road courses this season.

Qualifying for the Miller Lite 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will air 1 a.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2. CART 2Day airs 10:30 a.m. Sunday on ESPN2, while ESPN-TV's live race broadcast begins 12 p.m. ET. Twenty of 21 FedEx Championship Series events are being televised live on ABC-TV or ESPN and 18 are being televised live on Eurosport, a European network that reaches 250 million viewers in 54 countries. Sunday's race will also air on the CART Radio Network and on CART's official website, at www.cart.com .

-NHR

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Series INDYCAR