CHAMPCAR/CART: da Matta, Fittipaldi Motegi qualifying


CRISTIANO da MATTA, #6 Texaco/Havoline/Kmart Toyota-Lola: "I'm sure the car will be good in the race but we just didn't have it for qualifying which is what I expected after the morning practice. I had a little bit of oversteer in the first turn and a little bit of push in the second, which means that we got the balance right. The balance was good and I pushed as hard as I could but (getting the) pole was not realistic. There is only one guy that is happy here. I know a lot of people have qualifying motors here so the picture tomorrow will be a little different. Toyota has a very good race engine for us. The power is the same for us in qualifying as it is in the race so I think you will see others not driving as fast as they did in qualifying. In terms of race trim, I think we will be in the top three or four based on what I saw on Thursday afternoon when most people were working on race set-ups."

* NOTE: da Matta considers last season's race at Twin Ring Motegi one of his best in 2000. He started 19th and finished fourth. This will be his third Champ car race in Japan.

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, #11 Kmart Toyota-Lola: "I'm a little on the disappointed side because I was expecting a lot more. It's a long race tomorrow and the car is well balanced in race trim but it will hurt us to start this far back. The tow is big here. There will be a lot of drafting."

NOTE: Will be his fourth start in Japan. Best finish was third place in 1999 and best start was sixth in 2000.

The race will be televised on a tape delay basis on ABC on Saturdayy, May 19 at 1 PM ET.


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Series IndyCar