CHAMPCAR/CART: Elkhart Lake: Team Player's Friday qualifying report

Team Player'S drivers Carpentier and Tagliani hit the Road America. Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, August 15, 2002-- Alex Tagliani of Team Player's led the fight for the provisional pole early in the Friday afternoon qualifying session at Road...

Team Player'S drivers Carpentier and Tagliani hit the Road America.

Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, August 15, 2002-- Alex Tagliani of Team Player's led the fight for the provisional pole early in the Friday afternoon qualifying session at Road America, outpacing his competition for much of the session. In the end, his fast lap time secured him a provisional spot on the third row of the starting grid for Sunday's race on the long track in Wisconsin. Teammate Patrick Carpentier, fresh off a victory at last weekend's Mid-Ohio race, is looking to improve from his provisional spot on the 8th row.

Tagliani clocked his fastest time - 1 minute 43.184 seconds (227.289 km/h) on his sixth lap of the session, and Carpentier's best lap also came early on, as he clocked 1 minute 44.404 seconds (224.633 km/h) on lap five of nine.

"We were really fast in the beginning," said Tagliani, whose fast time was barely half a second off da Matta's time. "We grabbed the pole early, but then the others came out and clocked faster times very late in the session. And then on my last flying lap I was blocked a bit, and I lost a bit of time."

Brazil's Cristiano da Matta captured the provisional pole with a fast lap time of 1 minute 42.640 seconds (228.494 km/h) on his tenth lap of eleven. He was followed by fellow countryman Bruno Junqueira, winner of last year's Grand Prix at Road America, with a time of 1 minute 42.744 seconds (228.262 km/h). Dario Franchitti was a last minute addition to the top of the timesheet, as he recorded his fastest lap time of 1 minute 42.990 seconds (227.717) on his final lap. Starting on the grid beside Tagliani will be Scott Dixon, with a time of 1 minute 43.083 seconds.

"I'm happy with the car today," Tagliani added. "But it still has a bit of understeer. Team Player's worked really hard to compensate for that with wing adjustments, but we can do better."

At 4.048 miles, Road America's circuit is the longest course on the FedEx CART Championship. The track feels even longer when your car has mechanical problems by Turn 5, which is what happened to Carpentier with just fifteen minutes left in the session. "I just had no acceleration all of sudden, coming into the turn. The engine didn't blow, it just --died. Maybe it was the wastegate, or the pop-off valve that I had problems with this morning. We have problems with the car that Team Player's is working very hard to resolve for tomorrow's session."

Rain is in the forecast for Saturday's qualifying session and that suits Tagliani just fine.

"If it rains, and we're as fast as we were in this session, then I'll go for the pole. The track will be a bit slower, and if we have the fastest time then I'll be sitting in the front row on Sunday."

Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the Grand Prix at Road America throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race on tape delay on The Sports Network at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.

-player's-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Cristiano da Matta