CHAMPCAR/CART: Monterey: Team Player's Saturday report

Perched on row 3 and 4, drivers Carpentier and Tagliani are upbeat about Team Player's prospects at Grand Prix of Monterey. Monterey, California, June 8, 2002 After qualifying on Row 3 and 4 respectively on Saturday, Team Player's drivers...

Perched on row 3 and 4, drivers Carpentier and Tagliani are upbeat about Team Player's prospects at Grand Prix of Monterey.

Monterey, California, June 8, 2002 After qualifying on Row 3 and 4 respectively on Saturday, Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani both expressed confidence that they are in a favourable position to produce some strong results in Sunday's Grand Prix of Monterey, the fifth race of the FedEx CART Championship series.

"You always want to get the pole, but considering the fact we weren't able to go for a fast lap in the final minutes of the session, we have to be satisfied with Row 3," said Carpentier, whose fast lap of 1 minute, 10.255 seconds was the sixth best of the day. "The car is working well and Team Player's is poised to have a good race."

Carpentier was on his second set of tires and on a fast lap with five minutes to go in today's session when he caught the oil slick leaking from the car of Brazil's Cristiano da Matta. The wheels of Carpentier's car spun all the way up the hill, the most important sector of the Laguna Seca layout an area that requires a great deal of acceleration. CART later assessed da Matta a $10,000 penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

"I was the first car to run on da Matta's oil," explained Carpentier. "I must have spun for what seemed like a mile, and after that the car became very loose. When I stopped spinning my tires were more square than round. Cristiano should have stopped after the engine blew and he started leaking oil in the raceline. He knew he had the pole and he knew what he was doing. It was dangerous for the rest of us. I could have destroyed the tub because of that."

Earlier in the session, da Matta took the pole from provisional pole-sitter Kenny Brack of Sweden with a quick lap of 1 minute, 9.473 seconds (115.970 mphh/186.631 kms/h). Brack, who had secured a front-row spot on the grid with his provisional pole on Friday, was second fastest today (1:09.575), while fellow Brazilians Bruno Junqueira and Tony Kanaan qualified on Row 2.

Tagliani, who clocked the seventh fastest lap on Saturday (1:10.269 for 114.657 mph/184.518) trimmed almost four-tenths of a second from his top qualifying lap from Friday.

"There's still room for some improvement, but Team Player's should score some good points in Sunday's race," stated Tagliani. "I believe we might have been able to get a fourth place out of the car in today's qualifying. But in the first laps, we were blocked by another car coming into the pits and it took away that opportunity. Then, the second time around, the car got away in corner 6 and I had to head back to the pits, where the Team Player's crew replaced the skid plates underneath the car. The car was working well toward the end but we ran out of time for fast laps."

Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the Grand Prix of Monterey throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race live on The Sports Network starting at 4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Tony Kanaan , Kenny Brack , Cristiano da Matta