CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Players Vancouver final qualifying

Vancouver, British Columbia, September 2, 2000 Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani are counting on fuel and pit strategy, some heads-up racing and a little bit of luck in their quest for success at Sunday's Molson Indy ...

Vancouver, British Columbia, September 2, 2000 Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani are counting on fuel and pit strategy, some heads-up racing and a little bit of luck in their quest for success at Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver, the 15th race of the season in the FedEx CART Championship.

Carpentier and Tagliani will be tackling a formidable challenge on the tight and narrow 1.781-mile street course after qualifying on Row 9 and 10 respectively in today's session, where misfortune dogged both of the Team Player's drivers.

Dario Franchitti of Scotland took the pole and was joined on the front row by Canada's Paul Tracy. The second row belongs to Brazilians Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves. Franchitti's pole-winning lap was clocked in 1 minute, .405 seconds (106.144 miles per hour), while Tracy covered the distance in 1:00.493.

Carpentier, who was somewhat hampered in the first qualifying session Friday because of an eight-minute penalty he had to serve following an infraction in the previous race, had hoped to make some headway in today's session. But a problem arose with the engine in his primary car early in the session and the back-up car to which he resorted had different set-ups, adding further woe to a frustrating session. He posted a fast lap of 1:02.431.

"I'm not only extremely disappointed, I'm also very upset about it because we had hoped to have a better performance in front of our home fans," said Carpentier, who thrilled the Canadian audience in 1999 by finishing second, the best showing by a Canadian driver in the 11-year history of the Molson Indy Vancouver. "We've had a couple of mechanical problems in the last two races, but I need to put that behind me and focus on the job at hand, which is the race tomorrow.

"If the car is good, you can be sure I'm going to give it everything I have to get into contention very quickly. This is a tough track to pass on but I'm going to grit my teeth and go for it. If we get a few cautions and the Team Player's race strategy works out, anything can happen."

Tagliani was among the fastest in today's practice session, recording the fifth-fastest time. But the Team Player's rookie was unable to carry that momentum into the qualifying run because an electrical problem developed on the throttle position sensor (TPS) during qualifying. The electrical problem affected the information being relayed to the engine management system and caused the throttle to sputter.

"I felt really good going into the qualifying run after what we had been able to do in the morning," remarked Tagliani, who clocked a time of 1:02.730 in qualifying. "Team Player's had solved the traction problems that had made the car difficult to drive on Friday. What happened today is unfortunate. We just can't seem to catch a break this weekend. It's disappointing for everyone involved. We're going to have to be aggressive and combine that with flawless fuel and pit strategy in what should be a two-pit race."

Racing fans can track the progress of Team Player's all weekend by logging on to the team's web site at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the 90-lap Molson Indy Vancouver live on The Global Network at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti