ALEX TAGLIANI ( ...
ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "It was very difficult to pass today. My crew did a great job on the first pit stop and I picked up a position but I think the tire pressures were too high and the car started to slide and I had no grip. I touched the wall a couple of times and actually the car was catching me by surprise as I was turning." WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN JIMMY (VASSER) AND PAUL (TRACY)? "Paul was doing well except under braking. I saw him lock up the brakes and I tried to go inside of him but I saw Jimmy coming and I backed off as he hit Paul. I lost a position but I saved the car."
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (#4 Target Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone): "We took a gamble on pit strategy today. We thought that it would end up being a timed race because of all the yellow flags. But we'll take fifth place. Cristiano deserved to win the race and the championship, so my hat's off to him. He did a good job all year long. We'll go out there and try to finish second in the championship. That is all we have to fight for now. Team Target did a very good job all weekend and Toyota gave me good power. Our goal now is to go out and try win the rest of the races."
MICHEL JOURDAIN (#9 Office Depot Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "It is a shame because we had a great car but I made a mistake on my second pit stop. The strategy was brilliant and the guys gave me a great car. Unfortunately, a communications problem cost us a chance at being on the podium."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "The car was okay the first 10 laps and then I started picking up push and then loose. We never really recovered the car. Today was just a matter of hanging in there. The car was just getting worse and worse. We made an adjustment on the tire pressure but I don't know what happened. It was very strange - no grip in the front and no grip in the rear. We ended up with a top 10 under bad conditions, and hopefully we can improve from here."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (#39 Motorola Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "It was really, really physical out there today. When you combine the tight track with today's heat and an ill-handling car, it sure makes for a long day. I thought Team Motorola was going to be able to salvage a decent finish at the end but Tony (Kanaan) tried to pass me in a spot that I didn't expect and I guess he was committed to the inside and he took me out. It was a challenge out there today for us. We couldn't get the car handling well and that just made it tough."
TONY KANAAN (#10 Pioneer/WorldCom Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "Well, that was a really tough pill to swallow. It was really unfortunate that CART decided to penalize me for that incident with Scott (Dixon) because that took away every chance in the world that we had to win the race. As far as I'm concerned, I don't agree with the call. I am allowed to make one move to protect my position. Scott got inside of me trying to go for the lead and we both touched as we were coming to the corner. He was out of the race and I was able to continue. It was a racing incident, as far as I am concerned, but who am I to judge? I'm just a driver and I'm paid to do my job. You're damned if you're aggressive, and you're damned if you're not. I feel bad for both of us because neither of us was able to finish the race. You put these kinds of cars on a course that is so extremely tight like this one and there is going to be contact. So you really need to give us a little bit of a break, otherwise we have no business racing on a track like this. I accepted the penalty and the rest of our day was hell after that. If the officials who made the call can put their heads on their pillow tonight and feel like they did the right thing, then so be it. Let's go to Australia."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (#27 KOOL Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "I lost my radio after the first pit stop, so I wasn't able to communicate with Team KOOL Green during the race. I just kept trying to keep up with Cristiano (da Matta). The car was running all right, it was quicker on some parts of the track than others. First off I want to congratulate Cristiano, his team did a great job this year and he really deserves this. I'd buy him a drink tonight but I think we're all paying for the bar jointly. I'm pretty disappointed with race control. When I went into the tires it took them two laps to get the yellow out, but yesterday when I spun and went off, they threw the red in two seconds and my car was still running. I wouldn't have been on the podium, but I could have been much further up when the other guys went out."
MARIO DOMINGUEZ (#55 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "The team gave me a great car today but two mistakes on my part really cost us. The pit crew did a fantastic job of replacing the steering part that was broken after I brushed the wall the first time. And then I hit the wall again - trying a little too hard to make up time I guess. The track was still really slippery in places but it held up well during the race. This was a tough event today with the heat and the challenging track layout so I'm just happy that we were able to get back out there and bring the car home with some points."
PAUL TRACY (#26 KOOL Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "A disappointing day for Team KOOL Green. I was just trying to get my third place. I don't know what happened, but Jimmy (Vasser) hit me. That's kind of out of character for him. He's not one to really do things like that, so I guess it was just one of those things. ON THE SPIN: It's one of the fastest parts of the track and I just lost it through there. I was lucky not to hit the wall. I was looking in my mirrors driving backwards down the track and backed into the runoff area and took off again. It was a pretty tough race all the way around. All day long the handling on the car would come and go depending on who was in front of you and what was going on with the track. In spite of that we were in position for a podium finish but it just didn't happen today."
KENNY BRACK (#12 Target Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone): "The car was pretty bad from the start of the race and then got worse. I think that the differential froze up or something. We'll have to take a look at it and see what happened. We were pushing like a snowplow out there, it was almost undriveable. I think that we were three seconds off the pace. It's another tough day for us."
SHINJI NAKANO (#52 Alpine/Mitsuba Honda/Lola/Bridgestone): "The track conditions were not that good. The temperatures were really hot and I was really struggling with understeer. The car was sliding everywhere. It wasn't just me; I think everyone had the same situation. I cannot say my car was perfect, but it was reasonably good. Our strategy was pretty good and if I could stay out without having any problems, I think we could have run a pretty good race. It's a shame to end up like this. I don't know exactly what happened. Going into the last turn, fire came out from the back."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "I got in a little bit too deep and I thought I could make the turn but I changed my mind and tried to go down the escape road and hit the wall head-on instead." WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN YOU AND MARIO DOMINGUEZ? "It was very disappointing because he came in too fast, spun me around and I lost a lap right there, but the car was alright after that. It's just very disappointing."
ORIOL SERVIA (#20 Visteon Toyota/Reynard/Bridgestone): "From the start of the race things went bad for the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team. On the first lap I made a move to the outside of the driver in front of me, but he closed the door going into the corner. I braked as hard as I could, but he still hit me on the right front, which knocked the left rear into the wall. We lost a lap at that point, but more importantly the impact damage the suspension and 28 laps later the suspension failed. It is unfortunate. The Visteon/Patrick Racing Team did a great job this weekend and we had a good car for the race. We will just have to continue to work hard and try to get our first win in Australia.
SCOTT DIXON (#44 Target Toyota/Lola/Bridgestone): "What a day...I was going down the frontstretch and I had a run on Tony (Kanaan). I got inside him and then for some reason, he decided to turn right and squeezed me into the wall. My car was much quicker than his during the first part of the race and I was looking for the right time and place to pass him. We had the car to win this race and it's pretty disappointing."