Cleveland, Ohio, July 1, 2000 While Team Player's drivers Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier both managed to shave more than a half-second off their times of the previous day, they were able to make only modest improvements to their position...
Cleveland, Ohio, July 1, 2000 While Team Player's drivers Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier both managed to shave more than a half-second off their times of the previous day, they were able to make only modest improvements to their position on the starting grid for Sunday's Grand Prix of Cleveland.
Tagliani covered the 2.1-mile Burke Lakefront Airport road course in a fast lap of 58.644 seconds to take the outside of Row 9 on the grid for Round 9 of the series, while his teammate is right behind him, on the inside of Row 10.
"Team Player's kept on improving the set-ups on the car and we've been able to lower our times, both in practice this morning and the qualifying session this afternoon, but so are the other teams," remarked Carpentier, who put in a fast lap of 58.717. "Today, it was a matter of having to play catch-up."
Brazilians Roberto Moreno and Gil de Ferran share the front row of the grid after Moreno grabbed his first career pole with a time of 57.436 seconds (132.001 miles per hour), edging out his fellow countryman by .088 seconds. Mauricio Gugelmin, also a Brazilian, recorded the third-fastest time (57.538 seconds).
As was the case in Friday's session, Carpentier found the car tough to handle because of a lack of mechanical grip in the corners. "The Ford engine is 10 miles an hour faster on the straights but I'm one second slower than last year," he noted. "It's going to be a long night for Team Player's as it readies the car for tomorrow's race."
Getting the proper grip during his ride was also a problem for Tagliani, but the rookie maintained a positive outlook. "Fortunately, the car handles better with a heavy load of fuel, so I'm hopeful for the race," he said. "As we all saw last week in Portland, anything can happen during a race, especially at the start of it. Also, with smooth pit stops, Team Player's can work its way up to the front."
Racing fans can watch the 100-lap Grand Prix of Cleveland on a tape delay on The Sports Network at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday.
In the Atlantic series, Player's-funded driver Andrew Bordin, of Woodbridge, Ontario, the series leader, has the fourth spot on the grid for Sunday's 32-lap race, which has Alex Gurney on the pole.