Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix "Quoteboard" PAUL TRACY ( ...
Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix "Quoteboard"
PAUL TRACY (#3 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "That first turn at Fundidora Park can create quite a bit of chaos, as we saw last year, when there were about three separate incidents that either put drivers out of the race or put them at the back of the field. Unfortunately, I was one of them, although we managed to go from 19th to 8th. I like my first race in Monterrey, two years ago, a lot better. I remember what a great feeling it was to be on the podium facing grandstands of very enthusiastic racing fans. They love CART racing in Mexico, and as a driver, it's a special treat to go there. I'm happy to get off to a quick start in the championship by winning the season-opener in St. Petersburg, but one race doesn't make a season. There's a new set of variables that you have to deal with in every race. Still, the way things went in the opener is certainly cause for plenty of optimism. We had struggled a bit in off-season testing, but when it counted, Team Player's was at the front of the pack. It was a total team effort, right from the start, and that's what it's going to take for us to make a run at the championship."
MICHEL JOURDAIN JR. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "For me winning is the final step I have to take in my development as a Champ Car driver. While I am very proud of everything that I have accomplished to this point in my career, to me it has just been preparation for what lies ahead. I know I have the team and the support I need to win and we [Gigante team] have proved we can run at the front and be competitive. Winning in Mexico would be almost as big for me as winning the Champ Car championship. To share my first win with my countrymen would be a feeling I couldn't imagine. We went to St. Pete with a goal of qualifying in the top-five and we did that. Qualifying is a key for us this year. We have put a lot of effort into improving our qualifying position this season. It is really pretty simple. Last year based on where we qualified we ran for top-ten results. This year if we can qualify in the top-five and do what we did a year ago then we should be racing for podiums. That will pay off in more points and should move us higher in the championship. The success of the Mexican events is something I am so proud of. We have the biggest crowd in the series in Mexico City and we have two of the finest tracks we race on here in Monterrey and in Mexico City. It was a thrill when I drove here (Monterrey) the first time in 2001 and it has been more enjoyable each time since."
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (#1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I think the combination between me and Newman/Haas Racing is a good thing for Monterrey. I had two bad races there so I really want to put the PacifiCare car up front and they won the two races and want to continue their success. A mechanical failure ended my race in 2001 and last year I went to the back of the field trying to avoid Townsend Bell's crash and then I drove hard to make up for it but my engine blew on the last lap. I hope that Newman/Haas's success rubs off on me and I can win the race this year. For sure to drive for the team that won the last two races will be big. I love to race in Monterrey. It's a pretty nice track. It's a little slippery which should make it even more interesting this year without traction control. The crowd is huge. There are a lot of big race fans and that makes me really excited. I think the fans in Mexico are incredible. They really watch us and know all of the drivers. It is a huge crowd. Every race day in Mexico there have been over 100,000 people. Latin Americans scream and shout and you hear them when you are on the parade lap. You can listen to the people going crazy. I just love racing in Monterrey!"
MARIO HABERFELD (#34 Mi-Jack Conquest Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "I have never been to the track before, but I have been watching the video from last year's race to gain experience from that. I've heard it is a smooth track with low grip. That's good for us because the Reynard likes a smooth circuit. [In this way Monterrey] could be similar to St. Pete. Others do have an advantage over us driving- and setup-wise because they have been there before, not like St. Pete when it was new to everyone. Our goals are to finish the race and score as many points as we can, and our aim is always to improve. However, we should not be disappointed if we don't finish fourth. I'm just looking forward to the race."
ROBERTO MORENO (#4 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "Obviously, because of Herdez and our other Mexican sponsors, Monterrey is a very important race for us. The Parque Fundidora track itself is a lovely place. It has a great atmosphere. I love the enthusiasm of the Mexican people for their racing. For me, it's like racing back home in Brazil - the crowd cheers for me as if I was a Mexican! It's great for the drivers to be racing in such an atmosphere! Monterrey is also a very challenging race track because of the combination of slow and medium speed corners and some good chicanes. Setting up the car to try to perform well in both requires a delicate balance. It's tricky really, because if you make the car better in one area you may give up the advantage in another area. I remember watching the race last year from home and being surprised that the top runners were using the curbs so much - that can be very demanding on both the cars and the drivers!"
JIMMY VASSER (#12 American Spirit Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "I will be looking to build on the decent finish we had at St. Pete. We're here to win races, we finished sixth at St. Pete, it wasn't bad for our first race as a new team, but we are prepared to fight for the win every weekend and that is what we have to make sure to do."
TIAGO MONTEIRO (#7 Fittipaldi-Dingman Racing Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "Since St. Pete, I came back to Europe where I still needed to finalize some contracts, and to respond to the Portuguese press and fans that were crazy about my first race! In Monterrey, the goal is the same as for St. Pete: finish the race! We still need a lot of mileage, so we want to finish every session available, and especially finish the race. I heard the track has a fun layout, but really lacks of grip! Especially on the first practices, so we're going to have to keep that in mind and not to worry too much if we feel the car is not handling very well, and just wait for the grip to come."
PATRICK CARPENTIER (#32 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "Fundidora Park is a fantastic racing venue. The track is a cross between a road and a street course, and it's got some challenging corners. I especially like the high-speed area as you're coming out of turn 8 and entering turn 9. I like taking turn 9 in fifth gear. The dust has a tendency to build up very quickly, so the track has the slickness of some of the street circuits we race on. In the two years, we've been racing in Monterrey, I've been very impressed by the Mexican fans and their passion for racing. It adds a lot to the fun of the event. Team Player's showed in the first race of the season in St. Petersburg that it had found a winning package, and even though it's very early in the season, that's a positive sign. I'm still convinced that we would have had a 1-2 finish if I had not tried to push too hard on cold tires. Still, I'd rather be aggressive than passive. You have to force the issue if you're going to win a championship, and the championship is definitely my goal, from day one."
PATRICK LEMARIE (#27 PK Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I have never been to Mexico before, but if all Mexican people are as nice as Adrian Fernandez, this is going to be a really good event. I don't know the track, but I've heard that this is a good race and a nice city, so I'm pleased to go. We have worked hard since St. Petersburg (testing in Sebring), and we have made a lot of improvements to the car, so I am expecting good things to come out of this weekend."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (#2 Newman/Haas Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "We knew it was possible to win the pole once we ran well in St. Petersburg but it's always a surprise when you are a rookie and win the pole straight away in the first race. It was definitely a good surprise especially since the last time it was done was in 1993 by Nigel Mansell. What I know about Monterrey is that Newman/Haas has a really good car there and they won the last two races so I think we have a good chance to run well. It is a pretty low grip track and the layout is nice from what I know. I have heard that I would enjoy the race in Monterrey. I'm looking forward to racing again. It is going to be a learning season for sure but the important thing will be to see how quick we will learn together. If we can learn from our mistakes and move on, it is going to determine how well the season progresses. We will probably be able to win some races this year but I don't know if we will be able to battle for the Championship. The car is good so it's creating a lot of expectations. We will make the most of it."
DARREN MANNING (#15 RAC Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "I've been watching the tape from last year's race quite a lot and I've gone through the setup info lots with the team to try to start learning the circuit. Rodolfo [Lavin] also told me about the track, that it's very slippery, so it's helped a lot to have that info about the track. I'm settling in very well with the team. Living in Indy helps because I have the chance to spend time at the shop and to get to know the team better. We're testing at Firebird [International Raceway] before heading to Monterrey, so hopefully that will be a strong test and continue to bolster our efforts for the next race."
MARIO DOMINGUEZ (#55 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "I'm really excited to return to Monterrey. From the standpoint of the team, I think we are really strong and have a great shot at a top-three result. For me, the fans are great too - they really give me an extra push. When we came to Monterrey in 2002, it was my first Champ Car event ever. I can remember the start of the very first session on track thinking, 'Wow, I'm finally here!' I almost couldn't believe it because it had been my dream for so many years. Now I know more of what to expect and it gives me a lot more confidence - in myself, in the team and in knowing the race track. People ask me about the pressure of racing in my home country but I don't really feel it that way. For me it's more the feeling of support I get from the fans and it's really helpful. It gives me a lot of motivation to go out there and give it everything we have for the best possible result."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "This is a very important race for us and I am looking forward to finishing the good start we had in St. Petersburg. We learned a lot of things in our last test at Sebring that I feel will help us to be very competitive this weekend. This is our third year to compete in Monterrey and we know what to expect now. We are a lot more organized and efficient with our time, from both a public relations standpoint and in meeting the needs of our sponsors Tecate, Quaker State and Telmex. After all the things that have happened to us in the last five months with the accidents and the preparation for this year, the best present would be to win the race and we are working very hard to do that. I think we are capable of winning on Sunday. One of the things I look forward to in coming back to Mexico to race is the support of the fans. This year, there are more Mexican drivers than ever to cheer for and more corporations and big sponsors involved. It brings a better show for Mexico and we are very excited about it."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (#31 American Spirit Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "I am really looking forward to this race. I kind of jumped in the deep end at St. Pete. Since then we had three days of testing and I am much, much more comfortable in my environment. It is all about finishing races, so that is my goal this weekend."
RODOLFO LAVIN (#5 Corona Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone): "I'm really looking forward to my first Champ Car start in Monterrey. I had a good result there last year (finished seventh after qualifying ninth) in Atlantics. As a rookie, it's fortunate that I already know the circuit, and know that it's usually very green, slippery. It's going to be a busy and exciting week for me. I arrive in Monterrey on Monday of race week to start doing media and promotions for Corona. I'll have a lot of friends and family there as well as Corona to support me, so I hope we can have a good result."
ALEX TAGLIANI (#33 Johnson Controls Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone): "Mexican fans really appreciate the sport. City races are great for people who want to be part of the event and for sponsors who want to stay close to the action. All kinds of people come out for a good time. Races like the Monterrey Grand Prix excite a whole city. It makes me proud to be part of the Champ Car World Series. I can relate to the excitement the Mexican drivers will feel driving for such an enthusiastic home-crowd. Last summer, the Molson Indy Montreal was a thrill for me. The fans here in Monterrey are just as positive and happy to participate. I'm Canadian, but even I want to make them proud."