CHAMPCAR/CART: Da Matta - fast time again on day two of Sebring test

Da Matta finishes second day of testing 2002 Havoline Toyota Lola - Again sets unofficial fastest lap at Sebring International Raceway SEBRING, Fla. (January 24, 2002) --- Cristiano da Matta completed his second day behind the wheel the 2002 ...

Da Matta finishes second day of testing 2002 Havoline Toyota Lola - Again sets unofficial fastest lap at Sebring International Raceway

SEBRING, Fla. (January 24, 2002) --- Cristiano da Matta completed his second day behind the wheel the 2002 Havoline Toyota-Lola at the 1.65-mile road course at Sebring International Raceway late yesterday and was extremely please with the test not only for the progress made on track but off-track as well. During the three days Newman/Haas Racing tested at Sebring, they set the fastest laps each day. The team is testing in preparation for the 2002 CART FedEx Championship.

"The test was quite good -- no, really good," said da Matta, whose lap time of 50.6 was most likely the fastest lap of the day. "We ran almost 200 miles again on the second day. Lola made some good improvements with the car and the Toyota is strong. Compared to the first test I had last season, which was good, this one was much better. We are only starting to work with the car and understand it but so far, so good."

Da Matta's new engineer, Guillaume "Rocky" Rocquelin, continued to build on his new relationship with the Brazilian since joining the team in mid-December after a successful season with 2001 "Rookie of the Year" and race winner Scott Dixon at PacWest Racing. Da Matta believes the change in the engineering department is working ever better than anyone had hoped.

"The car is good but also the way the engineering department is working now makes everything even better," said da Matta, who led the standings for the first four events last season and scored a total of three races wins and five podium finishes. "Rocky and I worked well with each other but it was only our first test together so we can only improve on this. With Peter Gibbons moving up to oversee the engineering of both cars, adding Rocky (Rocquelin) and promoting Craig (Hampson) to race engineer has been a very positive change. My impression is that it is working out even better than anyone had hoped."

Newman/Haas Racing, owned by actor/race car driver Paul Newman and racing entrepreneur Carl A. Haas, competes in the CART FedEx Championship Series. The team will begin their 20th season in the series in 2002 as the most successful active competitor with 61 race wins and 63 pole positions. For more information log on to www.newman-haas.com, www.texaco.com/racing or www.cart.com. The 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series season kicks off March 10 at Monterrey, Mexico and the 19-race schedule will be broadcast by new television partners, CBS and Fox Cable Networks Group, including Speedvision/Speed Channel.

-NHR-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Dixon , Paul Newman , Peter Gibbons , Cristiano da Matta