CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto: Newman/Haas Saturday qualifying report

Havoline driver da Matta won his third CART pole, third in past four races and first on a street course for the Molson Indy Toronto -- Lilly driver Fittipaldi qualified fifth - team aims for seventh win in 10 races. Polesitter: Cristiano da...

Havoline driver da Matta won his third CART pole, third in past four races and first on a street course for the Molson Indy Toronto -- Lilly driver Fittipaldi qualified fifth - team aims for seventh win in 10 races.

Polesitter: Cristiano da Matta 58.135 / 108.678 mph
th: Christian Fittipaldi 58.477 / 108.042 mph

CRISTIANO DA MATTA, #6 Havoline Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone:

"It's very rewarding to get the pole - especially on a street course since the passing is more difficult. For me, it was a smooth session. For both of my runs I had no traffic. I was pushing as hard as I could and I didn't know there were other cars so close. I think we are well prepared for the race. The wins, poles, the results only help you on that (confidence). To be a successful driver you have to be confident even when you are down and not getting results. That is the most difficult part (when down). It's easy to be confident with the way things are going. I know I have a well set-up car. I know the car can perform so that is one less worry. I can concentrate on only driving because I don't have to worry about the car balance. Because we had a front row start locked in, we were able to work on our race set-up in the morning practice rather than having to worry about qualifying up front so hopefully we are ahead of everyone else on this. Any small advantage is good in CART because it is so competitive. With the two points from being fastest in each session, we built our lead to 27 points which isn't much but every point counts."

· NOTES: Da Matta won three consecutive events in the series (Australia and Fontana in 2001 and Mexico in 2002) and became the first driver to accomplish the feat since Juan Montoya (1999). After leading 30 laps and building a strong lead in Long Beach, a pit accident derailed his bid for a CART record-tying fourth consecutive win. He scored his second three-peat of the season with wins in Laguna Seca, Portland and Chicago and could match a CART-record four consecutive wins with a victory in the Molson Indy Toronto. A win here would also be his seventh in the past 10 races. Will be his fourth Champ car race here and second with NHR. Started 14th and finished 12th in 2001 event after dropping back due to stopping on course in order to avoid the stalled car of Moreno. After resuming the race he later was collected by the aftermath of a collision between de Ferran and Max Papis. Led his first CART race ever here in 2000 event. Led 73 laps but finished fourth after those in second place-back pitted under caution and he ultimately had to make a late race pit stop for fuel which dropped him to a fourth place finish in 2000. Contact ended his first race here in 1999. He is currently leading the standings with a total of 97 points over Bruno Junqueira who has 70.

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Lilly Toyota-Lola-Bridgestone:

"We were able to jump to the top of the charts after our first run but we went the wrong direction (on the car setup) on the second set of tires and weren't able to improve on our time like others. We aren't overjoyed but were not upset either. I earned my highest finish of third place here in 1999 from a fifth place start but we're going to try to improve on that this year."

· NOTES: Will be his eighth race in Toronto where his highest start was fifth place in 1998 and 1999 and highest finish is third place in 1999. Ran as high as fourth in 2001 but was in sixth place when he attempted to pass Junqueira and the two collided. In 2000, he was in fourth place before contact in the pits dropped him to 17th. He finished third in 1999. Started fifth and led one lap in 1998 but Gil de Ferran, who was pitted beside him, hit one of his tires that was to be put on his car and finished 16th. Dropped from 13th to 28 after a mistake by the polesitter led to a turn one, lap one incident. He charged back to an 11th place finish. Finished seventh and ninth, respectively, in 1996 and 1995. He is currently in 5th place in the point standings, only 54 points back from leader and teammate Cristiano da Matta.

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW: The will be a morning warm-up from 9:30-10:00 followed by the Toronto Molson Indy at 1:30 PM ET. CBS will carry live coverage of the race.

-nhr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Bruno Junqueira , Max Papis , Christian Fittipaldi , Cristiano da Matta