CHAMPCAR/CART: Vancouver: Team Player's race report

Team Player's drivers Carpentier and Tagliani post strong 5th- and 7th- place showing in fruelling Molson Indy Vancouver. Vancouver, British Columbia, July 28, 2002 Patrick Carpentier charged from 16th on the starting grid to a fifth-place...

Team Player's drivers Carpentier and Tagliani post strong 5th- and 7th- place showing in fruelling Molson Indy Vancouver.

Vancouver, British Columbia, July 28, 2002 Patrick Carpentier charged from 16th on the starting grid to a fifth-place finish while his Team Player's teammate Alex Tagliani placed seventh to earn points in his sixth straight race in an eventful CART series race on the streets of Vancouver on Sunday.

Carpentier was running fourth on a re-start with eight laps to go in the 100-lap race when his car started to go into a spin on a kink on the Quebec Street straightaway. As the car spun completely around, Carpentier did a masterful job of keeping it on course and losing only one position, but the incident caused a chain reaction behind him as three drivers, including Tagliani, got tangled and were forced out of the race.

The race was redflagged (stopped) at that point while debris was cleared from the course and once it resumed, Scotland's Dario Franchitti maintained his lead over his Canadian teammate Paul Tracy, while Brazilian Tony Kanaan held on to the third spot on the podium.

"The car was on cold tires and the back end started to get away from me," explained Carpentier of the incident. "Then, while I was spinning the engine stalled and I played with the clutch to try to stay away from the wall. I stepped on the gas and fortunately the car came around and I was able to save it. I know that it caused a lot of commotion behind me but there was really nothing I could do under the circumstances. Everything happened as if I was in a twister."

Solid pit strategy that saw Carpentier go off sequence in the first few laps of the race and a stroke of good timing in getting a yellow just before he was due to make his second pit were key factors in Carpentier's stirring comeback from the next-to-last row of the starting grid. "Team Player's did a terrific job in the pits to get us from 13th early in the race and keep us among the leaders once we got into contention," commented Carpentier. "I thought this race was going to be hard but it was even tougher than I had imagined. I pushed so hard that my arms and legs are aching.

Tagliani, who fell back into the second half of the field at certain points of the race, mounted a strong comeback of his own until the incident on lap 92 knocked him out of the race.

"The car was probably good enough for at least fourth place," said Tagliani, who won the pole at last year's Molson Indy Vancouver. "We had some problems early on getting the proper tire pressure and getting the proper adjustment on the wing. Once we were able to do that, we were running laps about one second faster than the drivers ahead of us. Then, when the incident occurred, everyone slowed down and I get hit from behind. The rear tire was crooked, the front tire was almost ripped off and my brakes were gone. Basically, I was just a passenger."

With an early exit by Brazilian Cristiano da Matta, the CART drivers' standings tightened, as daMatta saw his lead over Franchitti whittled to 37 points (121-84). The fifth-place finisher, Carpentier edged his way up the standings as well. With 72 points, he is only 12 back of second place and 2 points out of third.

Following a one-week break, Team Player's returns to action on Sunday, August 11 on the 2.25 mile Mid-Ohio road course.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Cristiano da Matta