Toronto, Ontario, July 13, 2001 Alex Tagliani of Team Players was "quick out of the box" in the morning practice session Friday and went on to clock the ninth-fastest combined time of the day as drivers in the FedEx CART Championship prepared for...
Toronto, Ontario, July 13, 2001 Alex Tagliani of Team Players was "quick out of the box" in the morning practice session Friday and went on to clock the ninth-fastest combined time of the day as drivers in the FedEx CART Championship prepared for Sunday's Molson Indy on the 1.755-mile Toronto street course.
Tagliani's teammate Patrick Carpentier, who ran a limited number of laps while the Team Player's crew made major changes to his car between the morning and afternoon sessions, had a combined time that placed him 18th for the day. Brazilian Gil de Ferran, who set the qualifying record on this track in 1999, recorded the fastest lap in Friday's practice, covering the distance in 58.400 seconds (108.185 mph). That was just over two-tenths of a second faster than fellow Brazilian Christian Fittipaldi.
Tagliani, who finished an impressive fifth as a CART rookie in the Toronto race in front of a home crowd last season, was fifth fastest in today's morning practice session. Seeking to improve on that performance, he had the Team Player's crew make some adjustments to the rear of the car but it did not produce a better time (59.183 seconds, 106.754 mph).
"Overall, I'm quite happy to be in the top 10," said Tagliani. "The car is running well and we are where we wanted to be at the end of Friday. With five minutes to go in the session, Team Player's put on a fresh set of tires, but decided against it because there wasn't enough time to cure them properly. As it turned out, it probably would not have mattered because a red flag ended the session just after that. For tomorrow's qualifying, Team Player's knows what to do to be fast. I'm looking for a top-five in the morning session and top-two in our qualifying group."
Carpentier was forced to head into the pits in about the 14th minute of the 90-minute afternoon practice session, and the Team Player's crew worked on the gearbox. He returned to the track with 15 minutes remaining but was only able to put in seven more laps before the session was red-flagged. However, his quick lap of 59.477 (106.226 mph) moved him up several positions in the afternoon run.
"It took quite a bit of time to change the set-ups between sessions, but going to the back-up car wasn't an option because Team Player's figured it would be faster to clean and fix the gearbox than get the backup ready," explained Carpentier, who was a solid 7th at last year's Molson Indy Toronto. "I only ran 11 laps this afternoon but the car was faster on old tires than it was on the new ones this morning. So, at least now we know that we have a proper setup for tomorrow. It may not have been the best day, but it definitely wasn't a wasted day. Don't forget, though, that it's Friday the 13th."
Racing fans can follow the progress of Team Player's throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's web site at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the 95-lap race live on the Global network starting at 1 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.