CHAMPCAR/CART: Houston Player's Friday Notes

Houston, Texas, September 24, 1999 - In a productive and satisfying provisional qualifying session today, Player's driver Patrick Carpentier turned in the fourth-fastest lap in preparation for Sunday's Grand Prix of Houston, the 18th race of the...

Houston, Texas, September 24, 1999 - In a productive and satisfying provisional qualifying session today, Player's driver Patrick Carpentier turned in the fourth-fastest lap in preparation for Sunday's Grand Prix of Houston, the 18th race of the season in the FedEx CART Championship.

Carpentier's teammate Greg Moore encountered some set-up problems and recorded the 15th-fastest lap of the session (1:01.099), in which Colombia's Juan Montoya grabbed the provisional pole with a time of 59.884 seconds. Carpentier put in a quick lap of 1 minute, .297 seconds on the 1.527-mile street course.

Fresh from an encouraging morning practice session in which he posted the fourth-best time, Carpentier, of Joliette, Que., duplicated the feat in afternoon qualifying.

"It was a great day for us today," said Carpentier, who has finished in the top 9 in each of the last three races. "With the fourth-best clocking in both the morning and afternoon, we're doing well for our first day. With less than a minute left in the afternoon session, I touched the wall and I decided to go into the run-out on turn 1 and end my session right there."

Carpentier expects that the times will be even faster in Saturday's qualifying session, so he and his Player's crew plan to devote plenty of time and energy improving the car to earn a favourable spot on the starting grid.

A year ago, Moore, of Maple Ridge, B.C., had the best position on the grid after taking the pole. Moore and his Player's crew used the same set-up today as they did last year, but it failed to deliver the same results.

"We have to make a lot of changes and I'll be checking with Patrick and his crew on the set-ups they're using and we'll apply all the data we can to my car," explained Moore.

Racing fans can watch the 100-lap race on tape delay on The Sports Network starting at 5 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.

Tagliani and Bentham place 5th and 10th in Atlantic provisional qualifying

Player's drivers Alexandre Tagliani and Lee Bentham, who finished second and third respectively in last year's KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship race through the streets of Houston, were fifth and 10th in today's provisional qualifying for Sunday's event.

Tagliani, of Lachenaie, Que., registered a fast lap of 1 minute, 8.753 seconds, just under eight-tenths of a second behind provisional pole-sitter Buddy Rice and acknowledged that several adjustments are needed to get the car closer to the starting grid in Saturday's second qualifying run.

"We're certainly not happy with fifth place," he declared. "During the session, I had a clutch problem and there was a funny noise in the gearbox, but this doesn't have anything to do with the changes to the set-up. But I'm sure our Player's team will come up with the right solutions for tomorrow."

Bentham, whose fastest lap was 1:09.413, described his session on the tight track as "frustrating" because he was frequently slowed by traffic.

"Every time I was on a fast lap, I'd get caught behind a slow car or a car would come out of the pits right in front of me," remarked Bentham. "The car, and especially the Player's team, are much better than these results show, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's session to prove it."

The 45-lap Atlantic race begins at 1:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.

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About this article
Series Atlantic , IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Buddy Rice , Greg Moore , Lee Bentham