Da Matta returns to winning form at Road America. After three consecutive races finishing out of the points, Cristiano da Matta bided his time and took advantage of superior fuel mileage and pit work to win today's race. Driving the Havoline ...
Da Matta returns to winning form at Road America.
After three consecutive races finishing out of the points, Cristiano da Matta bided his time and took advantage of superior fuel mileage and pit work to win today's race. Driving the Havoline Toyota/Lola on Bridgestone tires, da Matta secured his sixth victory of the 2002 season and extended his season advantage to 42 points in the process.
Da Matta led the final 22 of 60 laps around the scenic and long 4.048-mile Road America circuit. He credited his Bridgestone Potenza tires for their consistency in helping fend off challengers Alex Tagliani and Bruno Junqueira, who finished second and third.
"We had an objective before the race to finish in the top five," da Matta said. "We knew we had the car to do better than that but we tried to be very conservative in our objective. If we didn't have the fastest car on the track, it was definitely the most consistent and I was able to put many fast laps together. The Bridgestone tires helped us by staying pretty consistent throughout the run. On the first stint, when there was a bit less rubber on the track, there was a little more tire wear. But after our rubber was laid down it was very consistent, very good."
Runner-up Tagliani, in the Player's/Forsythe Ford/Reynard equipped with Bridgestones, had a succinct one word response - repeated numerous times - when asked how his Bridgestone tires performed. "The Bridgestones were great, great, great, great!" he said.
All 18 cars in today's race competed on Bridgestone Potenza racing radials. Entering FedEx Championship Series competition this year for the first time, Bridgestone is the Official Tire of CART.
Joe Barbieri, Project Supervisor, Bridgestone Motorsport: "As expected, the Bridgestone tires held up very well today. The design of this track has always made it tough on tires, but the Potenzas our engineers selected for this weekend ran extremely well and provided the consistency and durability they've become known for. Many teams were able to run their quickest laps at the end of their stints, which says a lot for such a demanding course."
Race temperatures ranged from 103 to 107 degrees track and from 80 to 83 degrees ambient (F); Race temperatures ranged from 39 to 42 degrees track and from 27 to 28 degrees ambient (C).