CHAMPCAR/CART: Da Matta on pole again at Cleveland

Cristiano da Matta, fastest in every session this weekend at the Burke Lakefront Airport, has won the pole for the CART Cleveland Grand Prix. Da Matta's pole time of 57.040 seconds, (132.917 mph) was the fastest turned over the weekend, but was...

Cristiano da Matta, fastest in every session this weekend at the Burke Lakefront Airport, has won the pole for the CART Cleveland Grand Prix. Da Matta's pole time of 57.040 seconds, (132.917 mph) was the fastest turned over the weekend, but was still sort of the track record, set by Jimmy Vasser in 1998 (56.417 seconds).

Da Matta now holds a huge 50 point advantage over Bruno Junqueira in the season CART standings with the two points he has earned for the fast times in both qualifying sessions. His dominance was clear again today, as he set a time on his first set of tires that would have been fast enough for the pole and was able to go even faster on his second set. He commented: "We tried to dial out understeer and the car responded. Everything worked."

Patrick Carpentier, with a fast lap at the very end of the session, captured the outside front row starting spot with a time of 58.688 seconds. Carpentier praised his engineer, saying: "We made a lot of improvement for the second set of tires. We changed just a couple of things and the car was really comfortable. We really improved the traction control coming out of turn one."

Last year's winner of the Cleveland race, Dario Franchitti, will start third in tomorrow's race. "I felt there was more in the car than I got out of it, which is kind of frustrating. I was a bit too conservative in a couple of corners. I'm kind of upset with that, but I have a lots of chances to make up for it tomorrow, because we've got 115 laps" Franchitti said.

The top three cars showed the balance in the CART series, with all three engine manufacturers (Toyota, Ford, and Honda, in that order) represented and both chassis suppliers there as well, Carpentier's Reynard starting between the two Lolas.

Behind the top three, da Matta's teammate at Newman/Haas Racing, Christian Fittipaldi was fourth, and Michael Andretti was fifth. Tony Kanaan, second fastest in yesterday's first qualifying session, was sixth today. The remainder of the top ten starters will be: Jimmy Vasser, Bruno Junqueira, Kenny Brack, and Toranosuke Takagi.

The CART Cleveland Grand Prix will start at 1:30 pm (EDT) tomorrow.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Patrick Carpentier , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Tora Takagi , Kenny Brack , Cristiano da Matta