CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto: Lola Cars race report

Da Matta flies into record book with 4TH straight win; Lola runners take top six positions in wild Toronto race. Brazilian Cristiano da Matta tied Al Unser Jr. (1990) and honorary starter Alex Zanardi (1998) as the only CART drivers to ever...

Da Matta flies into record book with 4TH straight win; Lola runners take top six positions in wild Toronto race.

Brazilian Cristiano da Matta tied Al Unser Jr. (1990) and honorary starter Alex Zanardi (1998) as the only CART drivers to ever string four consecutive wins in Champ Car competition, taking a flag-to-flag victory piloting the #6 Havoline Lola/Toyota in the 17th annual Molson Indy Toronto at the city's Exhibition Place. He's also the second driver to take a Toronto win from pole on the 1.755-mile street circuit; Michael Andretti is the other, taking the win and pole in 1991. Kenny Brack finished second in the #12 Team Target Lola/Toyota, 4.389 seconds behind the leader for his best result of the 2002 season. Christian Fittipaldi was third in the #11 Lilly Lola/Toyota, giving both Lola and Toyota a podium sweep.

"I have to thank my team for this one, they're doing such great work on our Lola/Toyota. The only time I had any pressure was on the last restart (lap 96) with Kenny behind me. I was able to use lapped traffic as a buffer," da Matta explained. Brack admitted, "He's a little better than us right now. Second place is good but we need to catch Cristiano." Fittipaldi had "a pretty good race. My car handled very well throughout and getting these points is great."

Twelve of 18 starters were classified as finishers. Attrition took out second-place starter Paul Tracy's #26 Team KOOL Green Lola/Honda after the Canadian's front brakes faded. Bruno Junqueira, still second in the standings (48 behind da Matta) driving the #4 Team Target Lola/Toyota was eliminated in a turn 3 shunt with rookie Townsend Bell, who failed to make the turn. An angry Junqueira blasted Bell as he explained, "I didn't have the car to win this race, but I knew it was good enough get a good finish and add to my championship points."

Shinji Nakano recorded his best Champ Car finish of fourth in the #52 Alpine/Mitsuba Lola/Honda, backing up his 5th last weekend in Chicago. Scott Dixon was fifth in the #44 Target Lola/Toyota, while Jimmy Vasser earned sixth in the #8 Shell Lola/Ford.

Following this weekend's Molson Indy Toronto, the CART FedEx series now travels west to Cleveland, OH for next weekend's Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland at Burke Lakefront Airport.

-lola-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Scott Dixon , Alex Zanardi , Shinji Nakano , Kenny Brack , Townsend Bell , Cristiano da Matta