Vancouver, British Columbia, August 31, 2001 Race weekend at the Molson Indy Vancouver started in spectacular fashion for Team Player's on Friday as Alex Tagliani had the fastest lap of the combined practice sessions and his teammate Patrick ...
Vancouver, British Columbia, August 31, 2001 Race weekend at the Molson Indy Vancouver started in spectacular fashion for Team Player's on Friday as Alex Tagliani had the fastest lap of the combined practice sessions and his teammate Patrick Carpentier was seventh quickest on the 1.781-mile False Creek street course.
Cheered on by a large and enthusiastic home crowd, Tagliani and Carpentier were consistently in the top 10 on the leader board during the afternoon session. Entering the last few minutes of the session Tagliani shot from P6 to the top of the leader board by clocking a time of 1 minute, 1.230 seconds (104.713 miles per hour) in his final lap. The lap was about two-tenths of a second faster than Brazil's Helio Castroneves, who covered the distance in 1:01.438.
"The car is very easy to drive when it's handling properly and that was certainly the case today," said Tagliani. "Team Player's did a fantastic job with the car set-up. We came to the track this morning and the car was fast right out of the trailer. We ran with the same set of tires this morning and then toward the end of the afternoon session we tried a set of new tires. That was a big factor in our fast time at the end. We've been consistent in scoring points the last seven races and, hopefully, we'll be able to continue on that roll. Today's performance is definitely encouraging."
Tagliani registered the sixth quickest time in the morning session, but was able to shave more than half a second off that fast lap in the afternoon run. "I know that I have a car that is mechanically sound," said Tagliani. "Every weekend when we go out onto the track, we know that we can be in the top 5. I didn't have to make a kamikaze run on my last lap. I just needed a clear track and I got it."
Carpentier had to resort to the back-up car in the morning session after losing second gear on the primary car. But Team Player's made some major improvements between sessions and Carpentier was among the early fast-lap leaders. On his 31st lap in the afternoon, his time of 1 minute, 1.933 seconds (103.525 mph) moved him into fourth place, although he slipped down to seventh in the last-minute flurry of quick laps.
"It's fantastic having both Team Player's cars in the top 10 on Friday," remarked Carpentier. "I'm happy with the way things are going, but our car needs some improvement to go the No. 1 spot because it's pushing too much. Even on my fastest lap of the day, there was still quite a bit of push to it. Alex has a very good set-up and we'll take a look and see what's helping him fly on this track."
Tagliani and Carpentier, who are both in the fast qualifying group for Saturday's session, have combined to compile 97 points in the last five races, the biggest output by any driver duo in the series over that stretch.
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 race live on The Global Network starting at 5:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.