Monterrey, Mexico, March 11, 2001 Solidly in contention through the first half of the race, Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani both fell victim to electronic problems that forced them out of today's Grand Prix of ...
Monterrey, Mexico, March 11, 2001 Solidly in contention through the first half of the race, Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani both fell victim to electronic problems that forced them out of today's Grand Prix of Monterrey, the opening event in the 2001 FedEx CART Championship.
Carpentier, who had started sixth from the grid, held that position for much of the race on the 2.1-mile Fundidora Park road course. However, shortly after Carpentier returned to the track after pitting, the electronic management system gave way, causing the car to lose power. Carpentier had to park the car on lap 39, ending what was shaping up to be a promising race.
Tagliani, meanwhile, battled his way into sixth place from his 13th position on the starting grid after making some of the day's few daring passing moves on the tricky and twisty track. However, his car also began to overheat because of a similar electronic problem and his day came to an end on lap 61.
Patrick Carpentier. Photo: Paul Strak/Team Player's.
Cristiano da Matta won the inaugural Monterrey event, which had three long full-course cautions that prompted officials to invoke the two-hour time limit, reducing the race to 78 laps from its scheduled 80 laps. Fellow Brazilian Gil de Ferran finished second, 1.082 seconds behind da Matta, who claimed his second career win in the CART series.
"No doubt it's disappointing not to be able to finish what had started so well for Team Player's," said Carpentier. "But we were definitely competitive in this race. Something went wrong with the electronic management system, but that's something that can be fixed. We'll be checking it on the dyno to find out what went wrong.
"We've never had this problem before. I knew I was in trouble the first time I got on the track for the warm-up because the engine started cutting out then. But after about the first three laps, it finally settled, until the problem surfaced again later on. I feel badly for our Team Player's crew because we had a car that was right up there with the leaders."
Alex Tagliani. Photo: Paul Strak/Team Player's.
"If there is any consolation we can draw from what happened today it's that we know we can be competitive on road courses. Quite often we struggled on road courses last year, but there's plenty of good reasons to be optimistic based on how we were running out there today."
Round 2 in the FedEx CART Championship will be run through the streets of Long Beach, California on April 8.