Team Player's driver Paul Tracy begins his quest for fourth straight Champ Car World Series victory from the pole Kent, England, May 4, 2003 Team Player's driver Paul Tracy didn't even have to work up a sweat on Sunday in winning his first...
Team Player's driver Paul Tracy begins his quest for fourth straight Champ Car World Series victory from the pole
Kent, England, May 4, 2003 Team Player's driver Paul Tracy didn't even have to work up a sweat on Sunday in winning his first Champ Car World Series pole in almost three years. Tracy's provisional lap time of 37.006 seconds withstood all challenges today, giving him the inside front-row position for Monday's London Champ Car Trophy race on the 1.2-mile Brands Hatch road course, as Tracy goes for his fourth straight victory. He has started from the front row in all four races this season.
Patrick Carpentier of Team Player's, who also posted his fastest lap in the first qualifying session, will start from the inside of Row 5, while his Canadian compatriot Alex Tagliani, managed to move up two positions over Saturday's qualifying and will start on the inside of Row 3. Tracy's pole was the 14th of his Champ Car career.
Prior to today's qualifying session, the Legends Marketing Group presented Tracy with the National Driver of the Quarter Award. The award, given to the top driver among competitors in all of the major racing series, qualifies Tracy as one of the candidates for Driver of the Year honours. After accepting the award, Tracy watched his fellow Champ Car drivers take aim at his 37.006-second qualifying time, with French rookie Sebastien Bourdais coming the closest during his four-lap allotment, touring the course in 37.044 seconds falling short of both Tracy and Bourdais' teammate Bruno Junqueira.
"It's been such a long time since I've been on the pole that I don't even remember what it feels like," said Tracy, who had gone 52 qualifying attempts since his last pole on the Michigan superspeedway, July 23, 2000 and had not won a road-course pole since 1994, at Laguna Seca. "It's tremendous for Team Player's. Starting from the front row is always a great feeling, but it's even better to have the pole."
Tracy, who put in a tire-scrubbing lap once his pole was assured, said the sunny and warm weather as opposed to the cloud cover that made the track a bit cooler and faster on Saturday was a factor in his provisional time holding up. "I'll do the best I can for the race," he vowed. "The experience will help, and saving tires is one of the things I'm good at. We've been able to win three races from second on the grid, now we get a shot at winning from the pole."
Carpentier, whose best time in Sunday's final qualifying was about two-tenths off his fastest lap a day earlier, said the warmer weather was a factor because it changed the aerodynamic balance of the car. "But the main thing today was the understeer," he added. "We made some changes in an effort to improve our times, but we ended up with too much push. There was not enough front wing."
Carpentier said that because he is starting from the ninth spot on the grid, Team Player's will work on using a different race strategy than the one employed by Tracy. He feels that off-sequence pitting and potentially adverse weather conditions rain is a threat for the race may be factors in helping him move up during the race.
--/2 Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the 165-lap London Champ Car Trophy 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.