CHAMPCAR/CART: Brands Hatch: Team Player's Saturday report

Last-lap heroics propel Team Player's driver Paul Tracy to provisional pole win in Brands Hatch qualifying. Kent, England, May 3, 2003 As he has done throughout the early part of the Champ Car World Series season, Team Player's driver Paul...

Last-lap heroics propel Team Player's driver Paul Tracy to provisional pole win in Brands Hatch qualifying.

Kent, England, May 3, 2003 As he has done throughout the early part of the Champ Car World Series season, Team Player's driver Paul Tracy demonstrated a flair for the dramatic Saturday in recording the fastest time in provisional qualifying for Monday's London Champ Car Trophy race on the 1.2-mile Brands Hatch road circuit.

Tracy, who has three provisional poles and has started from the front row and won the first three races of the season, assured himself of another front-row spot by clocking a lap around the hilly and historic course in a time of 37.006 seconds (115.960 mph / 186.619 km/h), 16 one-thousandths of a second better than Brazilian Bruno Junqueira. The last driver to go out for his qualifying run by virtue of his top time in morning practice Tracy took the provisional pole on the last of his four allotted laps.

Tracy's teammate Patrick Carpentier, who recorded a fast lap of 37.580 (114.188 mph / 183.767 km/h) held the provisional pole through the first 12 drivers and wound up with the sixth best performance of the day, while fellow Canadian Alex Tagliani was seventh (37.790 seconds and a speed of 113.554 mph / 182.747 km/h). Tracy's provisional pole added a point to his lead (now 65-38) over Junqueira in the drivers' standings.

"Team Player's did a great job again today," said Tracy, who is seeking to become the fourth driver since the inception of the CART series in 1979 to win four consecutive races joining Al Unser Jr., Alex Zanardi and Cristiano da Matta in that regard. "The car was quick when we hit the track this morning, and we kept up the pace. We've been fortunate to start on the front row for every race this year. It's a real bonus to be able to do that."

Tracy, who whittled several tenths of a second off his time on each of his trips around the challenging circuit, was unaware that he was down to his last lap to try to displace Junqueira from the pole. "I thought I had two laps left," he explained. "But my engineers told me I was about to go on my last one. I pulled half a second quicker as the tires reached the right temperature. The car had a bit of oversteer but I ran almost flat out."

Carpentier's qualifying session was a substantial improvement over his morning practice run in which a rough-performing car left him in 15th position. Carpentier returned to the pits for some repairs and adjustments, but there wasn't enough time to set the car up to his liking for the second practice session.

"Before qualifying, we took Paul's setups and the car was seventh-tenths quicker," related Carpentier. "But I only had one lap to get used to his setups. I was never at the limit. I could have gone faster, but sixth fastest is OK for today, especially after the problems we had in practice."

Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the 165-lap London Champ Car Trophy throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race live on the The Sports Network starting at 9 a.m. on Monday.

-tp-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Bruno Junqueira , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Alex Zanardi , Cristiano da Matta