Fittipaldi, Andretti uphold Lola pride, taking second and third; Team Target fourth through sixth at Mid-Ohio. In one of the longest and fastest races ever recorded by the CART FedEx series at the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Patrick...
Fittipaldi, Andretti uphold Lola pride, taking second and third; Team Target fourth through sixth at Mid-Ohio.
In one of the longest and fastest races ever recorded by the CART FedEx series at the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Patrick Carpentier won from pole, leading #11 Lilly Lola/Toyota driver Christian Fittipaldi to the checkered flags by 3.213 seconds. Michael Andretti finished third in the #39 Motorola Lola/Honda, while Team Target's three Lola/Toyotas finished fourth through sixth, with Bruno Junqueira leading Scott Dixon and Kenny Brack.
Held on a third consecutive hot, sunny day (89-92 degrees air, 118-126 degrees track), the 92-lap romp around the 2.258-mile road course was interrupted only twice by full course cautions. "This was all about track position," Fittipaldi allowed. Believing he could have won, but for a slow first pit stop, the Brazilian veteran called it "a hard, hot race. I had no drink bottle," he noted afterwards. Andretti agreed: "We ran qualifying laps all day long."
Junqueira spent much of the latter stages of the race trying to run down Andretti in his #4 Lola/Toyota and was "pretty happy with our result today. My Target team made the right calls to get the car handling well for me." Dixon, who started in 15th place and took 5th at the flags, called his #44 Target Lola/Toyota and team "simply awesome today. We used different pit strategy and it worked great. The car got better as the race went on." Brack, who fell from his 4th starting slot to seventh early, was disappointed, hoping for a podium finish. With his steering wheel tilting right, his car was "challenging to drive."
Jimmy Vasser was pleased to claim 8th place in the #8 Shell Lola/Ford, followed by Shinji Nakano in the #52 Alpine/Mitsuba Lola/Honda. Steady Michel Jourdain Jr. took 11th place in the #9 Gigante Lola/Ford, scoring points in every race held to date in the 2002 season.
Point leader Cristiano da Matta was hounding the leader while in second place driving the #6 Havoline Lola/Toyota, only to be forced into an error, his first of the season. Da Matta did record the fastest lap of the race, at 67.966 seconds. He retains first place in points, 27 in front of Carpentier.
The CART crowd travels next weekend to bucolic Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI for the Motorola 220, round 12 of the 19-race campaign.