PLAYER"S CART TEAM DRIVERS GREG MOORE AND PATRICK CARPENTIER QUALIFY SIDE- BY-SIDE ON ROW 7 FOR GRAND PRIX OF HOUSTON Houston, Texas, September 25, 1999 - Facing what they describe as a tough race, Player's drivers Greg Moore and Patrick ...
PLAYER"S CART TEAM DRIVERS GREG MOORE AND PATRICK CARPENTIER QUALIFY SIDE- BY-SIDE ON ROW 7 FOR GRAND PRIX OF HOUSTON
Houston, Texas, September 25, 1999 - Facing what they describe as a tough race, Player's drivers Greg Moore and Patrick Carpentier are determined to work their way into contention at Sunday's Grand Prix of Houston, a FedEx CART Championship race they will be starting side-by-side after today's qualifying session put them on Row 7.
Moore, of Maple Ridge, B.C., was 1.129 seconds quicker today than his provisional qualifying time on Friday. He recorded a fast lap of 59.967 seconds (91.670 mph), but it wasn't quite enough to move him up on the starting grid. The front row of that grid will be occupied by pole-sitter Juan Montoya, of Colombia, and American Bryan Herta.
Carpentier, of Joliette, Que., who was fourth in provisional qualifying, also trimmed just over three-tenths of a second from his fast lap of the previous day. But a string of circumstances prevented him from making even more improvements on his second-session time of 59.978 seconds on the 1.527-mile street course.
"On my last fresh set of tires, I got blocked in Turn 7 on a fast lap," he explained. "Actually, I think the car has a lot more in it than it shows, and we could have gotten a 59.6 on a clear lap. All in all, it was a rather disappointing day. First, we lost an engine on the first lap at this morning's practice session and had to revert to our back-up car. This prevented us from working on our primary car, with which we got fourth position yesterday."
Carpentier, who is entering the Houston event on the strength of three straight top-9 finishes, has made strong comebacks in his last two races. He finished second in Vancouver, after starting from 11th on the grid, and moved from 15th to 9th at Laguna Seca two weeks ago.
Moore, the pole-sitter at last year's inaugural Grand Prix of Houston, conceded that a good starting position is important in Houston because the tight configuration of the track makes passing quite difficult.
"We'll have to work on staying out of trouble and driving as hard as we can," stated 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 on Row 3 and 5 respectively for Atlantic race
Although Player's drivers Alexandre Tagliani, of Lachenaie, Que., and Lee Bentham, of Newmarket, Ont., were both able to improve on their provisional qualifying times in today's second session, they had to settle for the 6th and 10th positions on the starting grid for Sunday's season-ending race in the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship.
"The car was not performing that well at first, but our Player's team came up with the right adjustments and the car was much better towards the end of the session," said Tagliani, whose fast lap of 1 minute, 8.692 seconds was almost one-tenth of a second better than his provisional qualifying result.
Like Tagliani, Bentham was poised to put in his fastest lap of the afternoon when rain prematurely ended the session. Prior to the showers, Bentham shaved more than three-tenths of a second off his Friday time, recording a fast lap of 1:09.161.
"I'm sure that, given a full session, we could have been in the top five," stated Bentham, who clinched the Atlantic drivers' champion at last year's Houston event, when he finished third, just behind Tagliani. "Our car is very good, but once again luck was against us."
Pole-sitter Buddy Rice and Anthony Lazzaro share the front row of the grid and Player's-funded driver Andrew Bordin, of Woodbridge, Ont., has the third position for the race, which Bentham believes will be extremely competitive.
"We'll give it our best shot to finish the season with a podium for our team and Player's, our sponsor who has provided us with such top-notch support throughout the year," declared Bentham.
The 45-lap Atlantic race begins at 1:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.
The Player's Racing News Bureau will send out results of the Player's drivers' performances in practice, qualifying and the race on a daily basis. CNW photos of the Player's teams will be sent on the Canadian Press wire on the weekend.
Local Time Eastern Time (+1)
Sunday, Sept. 26 Atlantic Warm Up 10:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. 11:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. CART Warm Up 11:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. 12:00 p.m. - 12:30 p.m. Atlantic Race 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. CART Race 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.-